Surviving an Online Class

One excellent aspect of LMU is the wide variety of classes that are available to its students, both graduate and undergraduate. Online classes are a way for students to take classes if they are unable to take the class in a regular classroom setting.  I tested out of freshman English due to my ACT score and I was able to take English 210, which is normally the class that sophomores take to fulfill their English requirements. Because the class is mainly for sophomores and required classes fill up quickly, it was unlikely that I would be able to take it as a regular class. When I registered for classes for the first time, I learned that I would need to take my English class this semester online for that reason.

The one drawback I have experienced from taking an online class is that my classmates, instructor, and I communicate only through discussion posts. I thrive in an environment where I can have face-to-face discussions with my professor and classmates while being able to freely get clarification or add my input easily. It was a bit difficult for me to adjust in the first few weeks of taking English 210 since that is how I learn best. After some time, though, I found myself enjoying my online class more than I ever thought I would.

My classmates, professor, and I communicate mostly through discussion posts on the readings we do. So far, we have read excerpts from many major works of literature from around the world, like the Mali Epic of Son-Jara, the Roman Aeneid, and the Spanish Don Quixote. Once we’ve read our assignment, we will have a series of assignments to go along with it, such as a quiz with a few questions, a discussion post, and every now and then a full essay. Our discussion posts take place of any actual discussion that we would have in class. Each person has to write about something they thought was interesting or important about the reading and by the next day respond to at least one other person’s post with a response. While it’s not the same as a regular classroom discussion, it does come pretty close!

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My reading schedule and list of due dates is next to my calendar, which I affectionately refer to as “The Boss.”

The class has personally offered me many benefits that regular classes usually do not. My personal favorite is that I can do work on my own time without having to follow the same schedule as everyone else in my class. If I know that a certain day will be particularly busy for me and I know that I have a discussion post due that evening, I can do it a day or two earlier when I have a little more time. The method I’ve used for remembering when to do everything is printing out the reading schedule and due dates list that my instructor provided at the beginning of the semester and putting it where I will always notice it. Week by week I will transfer any due dates or readings that will need to be done onto my big calendar. Once I complete a task, I will erase it from my big calendar and mark it off my smaller list. I’m not usually the kind of person who enjoys looking at a long list of crossed off errands, but because the list is for a whole semester, looking at everything I’ve crossed off reminds me how far I’ve already come! I certainly enjoy being able to know what I need to do and when to have it done by, but being able to determine myself when I will get everything done.

Another benefit to having an online class is that I don’t have to physically “go to” class. So what if I look like I just crawled out of bed (probably because I did)? No one will ever have to know! As long as I get my assignment done by 11:59 p.m. the day that it is due, it really does not matter when I do it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I can wait until 11:30 p.m. to start on something, though! It just means that I can do it right before I go to bed one evening or do it early in the morning once I wake up. The amount of flexibility I have is phenomenal.

Online classes are perfect for those who wish to get credits done while having the ability to work independently and keep a schedule. Talk with your adviser to see if an online class would work for you and your schedule.  If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or email me!

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2 thoughts on “Surviving an Online Class

  1. I took Computer Literacy online my first semester at LMU, and I really enjoyed it! There are lots of classes that I wouldn’t recommend taking online because you miss the interaction that you talk about, but this class was a good choice to take online since I’m pretty naturally tech-savvy. I had a “recommended” syllabus that listed a different assignment for each week, but all the assignments were already preloaded and I could really do them whenever I wanted. So, I did the first half of the assignments in one sitting one night, and then I didn’t have to worry about that class for a good while! But I don’t think that kind of thinking would work in the kinds of classes I’m taking now, so I usually opt for the classroom setting instead 🙂

    • Next semester I will be taking another class online since I’ve had such a good experience with English 210 this semester. I couldn’t imagine taking upper level classes online, though. Maybe for some people it would really be helpful, but I thrive on being able to talk to classmates and my instructor in more difficult classes. I don’t think I would be very happy taking Chemistry online! 🙂

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