Online University
10 Students 10 Questions 10 Answers

How do online classrooms work?

  • Angelina Casarez Angelina Casarez

    Online classrooms are similar to traditional classrooms, but the pace is faster and we only communicate over the Internet. Right now, I am taking 2 courses that are 8 weeks in length. Since the courses only last a couple of months instead of a full semester, it seems like we always have assignments due.

    Usually, our assignments consist of a reading assignment from our textbooks. After we complete the reading, we post our thoughts on the virtual class discussion board. We are assessed frequently via online quizzes in order to ensure that we are staying on track and keeping up with the required work.

    I would describe our curriculum as challenging but manageable. That is exactly how I want school to be for me. While I don’t want it to totally take over my life, I believe that the point of education is to help me retain knowledge that I can use in my job after I graduate, so I don’t want it to be too easy. I want to be required to think in new ways.

  • Tanya Faison Tanya Faison

    Each online school has its own way of running the classroom. At Walden University, classes are presented to me in a forum-based discussion format, like a message board. Each week I participate in a discussion and respond to my classmates by a certain time and date. But at Kaplan University, lectures were presented through a chat room. I could hear my teacher and see slides or images as he or she lectured. Everyone in the class had the ability to communicate with the teacher in the chat room, but we had the option of attending the lecture live or viewing it later.

    Now that I am at Walden University, I am assigned homework weekly. After I complete the assignment, I submit it through Dropbox, which is a file-sharing program. Within the week, my assignment is graded and returned to me. For most assignments, there is a grading rubric available that tells me what I need to do to get a certain grade. For instance, I am required to follow a certain format for my writing and I have to answer questions in a structured, grammatically correct way.

    Although I haven’t had any tests at Walden University so far, I was assessed through midterms, tests and quizzes at Kaplan University. They were multiple choice assessments that were graded electronically, so the results were available as soon as I completed them.

  • Jody Galis Jody Galis

    Our online classroom uses both lectures and personal instruction to teach us the principles of digital design. Lectures are prerecorded so that we can access them at any time. Then the lecture material is supplemented by personal instruction like the desk-sharing sessions.

    We are also assigned a mixture of individual homework and group projects to provide us with the opportunity to gain practical design skills. In the higher level classes, you typically have 1 group project throughout the entire course. For example, my group just finished a project that involved writing up a mock contract for a hypothetical business, as if we were a freelance designer. I got together with my group members in a chat room and we each chose a part of the project to complete. Then we put our individual portions together and handed in the project. We are also assigned individual homework each week, and we are obligated to post on a discussion board too.

    One benefit to an online classroom is that the class itself is like a live chat session if you are able to attend the lecture when it is first aired. You can actually ask questions about the lecture since it is just a recorded video. The teachers respond in real time, like in a physical classroom, but you don’t have to interrupt the lecture at all.

  • Krystal Gransbury Krystal Gransbury

    All of our classroom materials are presented online, so I don’t have physical textbooks or in-person lectures. Instead, the required reading is posted online and we are expected to complete it on our own. Besides reading, my homework usually consists of posting on our class discussion forum. The forum is a formal discussion about a certain topic that is presented by our professor. Each student is required to post our thoughts about that topic. We also have to respond to the posts that our classmates leave. To sum it up, we are required to communicate with our classmates at least 4 days per week.

    My classes are presented through 9-week sessions. I take 2 classes at a time, so I study for a couple of hours from Tuesday to Friday. I would guess I study about 8 to 10 hours each week, although that amount can vary according to the kind of homework that I am assigned in a given week. It is a nice schedule because I still manage to take weekends off most of the time. Plus, I avoid doing everything at the last minute when I break my homework down into manageable blocks of time.

  • Susan Griffin Susan Griffin

    In my health management program, all the material is presented online. Instead of textbooks, we use e-books. I appreciate e-books because I can simply download them, as opposed to buying physical books.

    Each class is a 5-week session, so I only take a single class at a time. We work in learning teams, which reduces each individual’s work load. But it also means that there is a lot of pressure to come through with your work so that the rest of the team doesn’t fail or suffer because of you. And because the structure of my classes is based on learning teams, a lot of my homework is in the form of group projects like presentations. That means we have to find ways to effectively coordinate several people in different time zones, which can be challenging.

    When we do have individual assignments, we are usually asked to read chapters from our e-books or to write papers. We are not given tests, so we have to work hard on all the assignments to keep our grades up.

  • Alleisha Heard Alleisha Heard

    My classroom operates through a class discussion forum. My facilitators post the class syllabus and all of the assignments on that forum so we always know exactly what is due, and when. After completing the assigned reading material, we have to answer a certain number of related discussion questions. The number of questions varies by course, but every teacher requires that we post substantive responses to each question because that counts as both our participation and our attendance.

    In addition to individual study, we also have a significant project to complete each week. It might be an essay or a case study, a PowerPoint presentation or something different. For instance, sometimes we are required to do group projects. Each class is broken up into learning teams of 4 to 6 people who work together on those group projects. It is a way to make sure that we learn how to work with others during the course of our program.

  • Brandon Johnston Brandon Johnston

    My bachelors program in business information systems is composed of 120 credits. Students take a single 3-credit class every 5 weeks, which is considered a full course load. The curriculum consists of required classes such as basic information technology, business math and human resources, as well as 15 to 18 elective classes. So far, I have taken some interesting electives in organization management and organizational leadership.

    For most classes, students are required to take a quiz every week that covers the class material. Some professors also assign weekly assignments. At the end of each course, students need to complete a final paper ranging between 10 to 15 pages. Classes are structured in such a way that the weekly assignments and quizzes lead toward the final paper. Therefore, the assignments and quizzes serve as a useful resource when writing it.

    Finally, my program requires that students pass a comprehensive exam covering all class material taught in the entire program. The comprehensive exam entails an 8 hour test that includes 200 questions.

    Class material is presented using YouTube, discussion boards, textbooks and e-books. Some professors provide us with links to relevant educational videos, lectures and discussions. I also find e-books to be a useful technology because they allows me to search for important passages using the search button as well as highlight areas of text on the screen for future reference.

    Professors gauge student participation and attendance based on their discussion posts. Each week, students are required to post 2 responses in order to stimulate online conversations between students and professors. Discussion forums give students the opportunity to challenge each other and provide onions.

  • Nancy Lockett Nancy Lockett

    In my program, classes are conducted through online discussion boards. Students write quality, lengthy responses to the questions posed by our professor. In addition to the discussion board posts, a new assignment is due at the end of each week. And just like in a traditional brick-and-mortar institution, we are also graded on tests.

    What stands out the most about our online coursework is that it is framed by many deadlines. We are given a syllabus at the beginning of the class that outlines what we should accomplish at certain points in each of our courses. The syllabus also provides timetables for assignments and tests, which is helpful for planning a study schedule.

  • Cynthia Palmer Cynthia Palmer

    My online classroom is highly organized since we have so many assignments due each week. Each time we log in to class, we can see what day it is and when our assignments for the week are due.

    The kinds of homework we are required to complete are very similar to a traditional campus in that we also usually have at least 1 paper due each week. We also occasionally have quizzes or multiple choice tests. The only style of homework that I didn’t feel prepared for at first was the discussion posts. We have to write several discussion posts each week, which is how the professor monitors participation. Now that I am used to the discussion board format, I it is a good was to foster communication and debate within my classes.

  • Justin Pettyjohn Justin Pettyjohn

    At University of Phoenix, our material is mainly presented through a discussion board format. My classes last 5 weeks each, so the pace is quick and you have to stay on top of assignments every day so that you don’t fall behind. At the beginning of the class, we are given all of the literature that we are expected to study in the form of e-books, or occasionally, actual textbooks. Then the instructor posts discussion questions on our class forum. We are supposed to apply the information that we read about in the literature to contribute to the class discussion.

    For certain classes, we actually have had access to pre-recorded lectures too. For example, in my math class, I entered a virtual lab to watch a video of a teacher showing me how to solve math problems. I like using that format, because I can stop the video if I feel like the instructor is moving too fast. I can rewind it and watch a certain part over if the math gets confusing. I have always felt like I shouldn’t ask a teacher to re-explain concepts in a physical classroom because it slows down the whole class.