I came into college 6 classes ahead. However, I decided to pursue two degrees (Public Relations and Business Administration), which put me 7 classes behind. This means that my summers are full of interning and taking classes. So, I decided to take an online class over winter break to finish one of these seven classes. Before I began the class, I was really nervous that something was going to go wrong. How does class participation work (which according to the syllabus was 30% of my grade)? How do exams work? Are they timed? Are they cumulative? Will I have time to look at the book? How do I correspond with my professor? Do I have to be at the computer certain times during the day? If so, what happens when I start my normal classes at BU?
I eventually figured out that my fears were unnecessary. I am taking a history class through UMass Dartmouth called World Civilization II (I was also nervous that I had never taken World Civilizations I or world history for that matter since freshman year of high school). But the class is set up in such a functional way. There are tabs for Announcements, Calendar, Assessments, Discussions, Learning Modules, Mail, Syllabus, and My Grades. Class participation is shown through the Discussions. The professor posts questions every day, and the students in the class answer the questions and have discussions with each other about particular answers. The professor also comments on our answers or provides us feedback through the Mail section. We can communicate with other students through the Discussions, Mail, or Chat features of the website. Assessments can be timed but are also available for a long period of time so students can take the tests whenever it works for them. Lucky for me, I have the choice of taking exams on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. I have not had a problem adjusting to the online class and have found it extremely convenient and easy to use. I was planning on taking the last of my seven classes in person, but I may take it online because it is truly much more practical.
I always thought that taking a class online would be so much harder. I did not think I could learn as well without being in the same room as my class and my professor. However, I have found that I am learning a lot from my professor, the other students in the class, and the videos posted each week. It really shows the power of technology.