How Do Online Classes Work?
Have you ever wondered how online classes work? Maybe you have been thinking about taking online classes to earn your degree and get a better job or start a new career. With all of the information out there, you’re still not quite sure how online classes work.
This guide will help you learn more about what it is like to be a student taking online classes. We’re here to answer the most frequently asked questions that students have when they are ready to decide on their education.
Chapter 1: Who do online classes work best for?
Online classes can make attending college easier for many people who are juggling multiple responsibilities. Working, taking care of children and family, and pursuing hobbies and interests can make it difficult to attend a traditional college.
Online classes are a great fit for all sorts of students:
- Recent high school graduates might appreciate being able to live at home and not having to commute.
- Busy working professionals can take advantage of flexible start times.
- Online classes are also great for people who are looking to return to school or work towards starting a new career.
Do online classes work well for adults?
Adults learn best when they can relate new information to their own experiences and when they are directly involved in the learning process (Merriam, 2008). For the brain to make meaningful connections, classes need to be tied to new experiences. Online classes that are tied to real-world activities and realistic problem-solving are great ways for adults to learn!.
Adults also have more responsibilities outside of the classroom that can take time and focus from learning. Online classes work best when they can be integrated into a student’s life. Therefore, a program that fits into a busy lifestyle is essential for success.
- Social obligations
Do online classes work as well as traditional schools?
After hundreds of studies, eLearning has shown to be just as effective as traditional schooling for delivering a quality education (Clark & Meyer, 2011). The best online eLearning programs are focused first on the student and secondly on the technology available. Online eLearning tools assist students with the learning process as well as traditional methods and there are many additional benefits to online classes.
Chapter 2: Benefits of online classes
There are many benefits of online classes over traditional classrooms. You aren’t tied to a physical location so you can attend classes from anywhere you choose. This allows you to control your environment to create a learning space that is right for you without unnecessary distractions. Virtual classes support a flexible schedule so you can choose to learn at times that fit into your lifestyle. Online classes also offer a more diverse group of learners from all around the world.
You can take classes from your own space
Traditional colleges often require students to commit to long commutes. That time spent on the road is not only time spent away from family, but also time lost that could be used for studying and learning the course material. The additional time commitment of traveling to a classroom where students meet in person is time that you can never get back. But, when you decide to enroll in online classes, you don’t have to choose between getting the education you want and living the life you have. When you take classes online at Laurus College, you can create a more comfortable learning environment. Students should choose a quiet room where you can set up your desk and computer to log into classes. When you’re in a more comfortable environment, you’ll be more relaxed. You will feel less anxious about commuting, finding parking, or getting to class on time. Studies show that when students are in a comfortable and quiet learning environment, they are more engaged in learning. Comfortable students remember the material they are learning better than when they are in a stressful environment.
Online classes have a more diverse student population
Unlike a traditional classroom, students in an online school can come from anywhere in the world. You might be taking classes with people from different states or even different countries! Having a more diverse group of students can give you a new perspective on discussions and projects. Online learning offers some amazing networking potential as you meet and learn with people from different races, backgrounds, and geographical locations.
Online classes offer more schedule flexibility
Taking online classes offers more flexibility in scheduling. At Laurus College, classes are offered at five different time slots to allow students the ability to take classes when it is most convenient. Classes are 5 weeks long, so you can schedule your class at a different time from one term to another. Students can choose to change times because of changes in work or family schedules. Our different start times give you the flexibility to choose a class time that works. Having flexibility in scheduling means that when your schedule changes, achieving your educational goals doesn’t have to take a back seat.
Class materials are always available
As a student at Laurus College, you’ll log into your online classroom through a platform called My Laurus Portal (MLP). MLP is your virtual ‘locker’ where you’ll have access to all of the tools for successful learning and career resources. Each online class that you take has learning materials that go along with the learning goals
- Lecture slides
- Study guides
- Class recordings
- Links to relevant material
You can access any of the course materials, turn in assignments, and send messages to your instructor 24 hours a day. Students can still access the course and review materials even when their class is not currently live.
Increased individual attention from instructors
At Laurus College, classes are small enough that you can receive individual attention from your instructor. You can ask questions in real-time and get answers right away. If you need help with assignments, want to ask questions, or get feedback on your work, your instructor is available to work with you. Small classes help to give you the attention you need to do well in the class and to gain the skills necessary in your area of study. Laurus College also has live Peer Tutors available at no cost to students. Peer Tutors are students who have taken the classes that you need help in and have done well in the course and can help you understand the material and do well on your assignments and quizzes. Peer Tutors are a great student resource—a valuable resource that can help you reach your goals.
Chapter 3: Features of online classes
Online eLearning uses many different tools. Different schools and different programs will not all use the same technology but there are common features many of them share. These tools are used to foster the kind of individual learning and practical experiences that work best for adult learners.
A website called a student portal is often used in online classes. This portal is useful as a “home base” for online programs and is typically how a student accesses other online tools. Students are issued a username and password and log into the portal to read announcements, get assignments, take quizzes and tests, or other activities. Logging into the portal helps to ensure that you receive the right materials for your classes and allows instructors to grade assignments and send private messages to individual students. The student portal at Laurus College is called MyLaurus Portal (MLP) and it contains all the information you will need to be successful.
The portal will contain information about your currently enrolled classes. At Laurus College, most students only take one class at a time, but other schools may have you do more. In your portal classroom, you will find all the material for your course in one easy to access location. This makes it easy to find what you need when you need it so you can spend time on more important activities.
- Information about your current class
- Class materials such as the syllabus and lecture notes
- Assignment information
- Information about quizzes and tests
- Additional reading and research links
- Links to other tools
- A way to contact the instructor
- Your grades
Many online courses work by assigning projects, readings, essays, reviews, questions, and other types of deliverables. Assignments allow students to perform purposeful practice and get practical experience in the topic of the course. Because real-world experience is so important for adult learners, Laurus College instructors craft assignments to allow students to learn through doing. Assignments are located on the student portal and are assigned by the instructor. Depending on the assignment you may be asked to upload a file, type in a response, or interact with an online form. The portal may allow you to complete assignments directly or you may have to create your files depending on the course and the assignment. Some assignments may be automatically graded and others may require the instructor to grade them.
Some schools use video recording as the primary way of delivering lectures and other information. Pre-recorded material does not allow students to ask questions or instructors to give live feedback on student responses. Also, pre-recorded courses often contain out-of-date content and tools. In fields like 3D animation, IT, and web design taking classes with outdated material is simply a waste of time. At Laurus College, we offer live virtual classrooms where instructors and students interact in real-time. This allows our students to learn from the instructor directly as well as get information and feedback quickly. In addition, to live instruction our classes are recorded for students who are unable to attend the live session. Recordings can also be beneficial to students. Being able to pause, rewind, and re-watch portions of a lecture can be very helpful. Students use recordings to review material and provide offline assistance for assignments or projects.
One key element of active adult learning is through reflection. Adults need to learn by assimilating new information with their experiences and by discussing with their peers. Reflective discussions via online forums or through virtual real-time classrooms allow students to see new viewpoints and to help each other learn new topics and ideas. Many programs take the discussion board approach. This requires students to post new topics and comment on their peer’s posts. At Laurus College, we facilitate discussions both through discussion forums and via our live classrooms where students can explore new ideas in real-time.
Benefits of online discussions
Discussion boards allow students to interact and expand their networks. It allows students to meet their peers and share viewpoints. As students move into the professional workplace they can keep those connections strong with social media and other platforms. Some students can be intimidated by working directly with others. Discussion boards can help those who might not be comfortable with face-to-face communication and give them a safe place to learn and voice their opinion. Online discussion forums can allow students to learn from each other. Students can answer each other’s questions and give their unique perspectives on issues.
Chapter 4: Typical experience of online learners?
Online classes at Laurus College are different than classes at other online colleges and universities because they are taught live. That means your instructor and your classmates meet together in a virtual classroom with microphones and cameras.
How Do Live Online Classes Work at Laurus College?
Just like in a face-to-face classroom, students work collaboratively on projects and assignments. Live classes allow students to discuss topics, share feedback, give presentations, and interact and learn from each other. The only difference is that instead of being together in a room, they are together in a virtual environment. This interactive classroom environment helps students develop essential workplace skills, including communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, and professionalism that can go a long way toward landing that dream job.
How Do Online Classes Work With Live Instructors?
Because our classes are delivered live, you will be connecting live with an instructor every step of the way. The instructors at Laurus College have real-world experience in their field. You will take business classes with instructors who have worked in business, whether as entrepreneurs, small business owners, or with corporations or nonprofit organizations. Instructors in the IT Department have worked in the field, as well as instructors in Web Design, Medical Billing and Coding, and Digital Arts and Computer Animation. Learning from instructors who have been in the industry gives you added knowledge of what it’s like to work in the career field of your dreams.
What’s it like to be a student at Laurus College?
As a student at Laurus College, you’ll log into your online classroom through a platform called My Laurus Portal (MLP). You start class by logging into MLP and then clicking on a link that will take you into the live virtual classroom. Once you are in the virtual classroom, you will be able to turn on your camera and your microphone to communicate with the instructor and other students in the class. You can also text in the built-in chat box. The instructor will present class lectures, have students work collaboratively on assignments and projects, or even display videos and multimedia items to students. Once you have completed and turned in your assignment to the My Laurus Portal (MLP), your the instructor will grade the work and provide feedback. Even quizzes can be taken via the online portal. This interactive classroom environment allows students to engage in a full learning experience without ever having to leave their house.
What if my computer skills aren’t great?
Many students who are interested in taking online classes at Laurus College are worried that they don’t have the necessary computer skills to attend classes online. At Laurus College logging into and attending an online class is no different than visiting a website. You will need to be comfortable using the internet, but you’ll have support from your instructor and tech support. You’ll quickly learn how to navigate the online classroom and use your microphone and camera. Students quickly gain confidence in their online classes and gain tech skills along the way.
What experience do the instructors bring to the class?
At Laurus College, instructors bring real-life industry experience into the classroom. This adds value to the online courses. Students can tap into the wealth of knowledge and industry insight that the instructor offers. Students can utilize this additional knowledge in building their skills, portfolios, and business plans.
How Do Online Classes Work With Other Students?
One of the greatest benefits of taking online classes at Laurus College is the opportunity to meet other students in the virtual classroom. When you attend class online, you are logging into the live classroom with other students who are studying the same material as you are learning. You can interact and work with other students, as well as interact and talk with your instructor in real-time.
How will I complete my assignments?
As a student taking online classes at Laurus College, you will complete your assignments and turn them in online through the My Laurus Portal (MLP). Students can review feedback as soon as it is graded. Students can also complete quizzes and presentations online. As a student, you can edit, remove, and resubmit assignments all through the My Laurus Portal (MLP). You do not have to print, copy, or scan documents to turn them in. Completing your assignments and turning them in is a simple process that helps you get your work finished quickly so you can get important feedback from your instructor.
Other benefits of online learning at Laurus College
Laurus College students have 24-hour access to the online ProQuest Research Library. ProQuest provides access to thousands of full-text periodicals, scholarly journals, professional and trade publications, magazines, and links to other media and covering over 150 subjects. Students can also access multiple resources via the Library Resource page.
- The Library of Congress
- The Smithsonian
- The Journal of the American Medical Association
- The New England Journal of Medicine
- Web MD
- The Getty Conservation Institute
- Google Art Project
- …and many other sources, including open libraries, free books, videos, movies, and other media.
Online students at Laurus College have access to multiple career resources. Laurus College offers career readiness workshops to help with writing resumes and cover letters, mock interviews, and building LinkedIn profiles. The Career Services Department also helps students with interview preparation and tips, job leads, and industry events.
In addition to our live classes, we also have real people ready to help you every step of the way. Our Student Services Department is there to help with any questions you may have. Our Student Services Representatives personally assist students with issues ranging from financial aid to scheduling. We are experienced in making sure you overcome any worries so you can enjoy and thrive in your studies as you prepare for your new career.
Clubs and Activities
Online students at Laurus College enjoy many opportunities to interact with other students. One way is through the clubs and activities hosted by each department. Digital Arts and Computer Animation students can attend club meetings online and work on their portfolios in the Get Real Club. Students can hone skills in the areas of Computer Networking and Information Technology in the ITNet Pro Club. Get an inside look at the medical billing world in The Real Medical Billers Club. Connect with mentors and refine business plans in The Entrepreneur’s Club for Business Systems students. Work on website development and design projects in The Design Club for Web Design and Development students.
Other Services for Enrolled Students and Graduates
These services are available to all students currently enrolled and graduates of a degree or certificate program at Laurus College. The complete listing of available student services at the college can be found in the college catalog that each student receives at the time of enrollment.
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Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2011). E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. John Wiley & Sons.
Merriam, S. B. (2008). Adult learning theory for the twenty‐first century. New directions for adult and continuing education, 2008(119), 93-98.
Merriam, S. B. (2001). Andragogy and self-directed learning: Pillars of adult learning theory. New directions for adult and continuing education, 2001(89), 3.
Taylor, E. W. (2017). Transformative learning theory. In Transformative learning meets bildung (pp. 17-29). Brill Sense.