Online Classes vs. Traditional Classes

A young woman working on her online class from home

Earning your college degree can be one of the most important stepping stones to future career success and personal fulfillment. As an aspiring college student, you have some decisions to make before you can hit the books. These days, college classes are available in both traditional and online formats. You can also choose a hybrid learning approach, in which you would take a mix of both types of college classes. Each approach has its merits. Which is right for you?

What to Expect With Traditional College Classes

Traditional college classes take place on campus in a classroom, lecture hall or laboratory. Depending on the class schedule, you may attend two or three classes per week. You’ll also need to set aside time each week to do research, complete reading assignments and do other class-related work.

Traditional classes typically take place during the day, but there are also evening classes available. Most students who go on to pursue a baccalaureate degree immediately after high school will take a full schedule of college classes during the day. Adult students who are returning to school after an absence are more likely to take evening classes, which can fit around their work schedule.

If the class takes place in a lecture hall with a lot of other students, the focus of the class will likely be a presentation by the professor. Courses that are held in smaller classrooms typically involve more discussion among the students and the professor. With either format, you should plan to take plenty of notes. In smaller classes, do your best to contribute insightful remarks or questions to the discussion. It’s a great way to refine your communication skills and improve your ability to think on your feet.

The Advantages of Traditional Classes

There are many advantages of traditional, on-campus classes. One of the great things about going to college is that it allows you to become a participating member in a learning community. Many students find that on-campus classes offer a stronger sense of fellowship. You’ll be able to enjoy in-person interactions with fellow students and your instructors.

In addition, classes that take place on a college campus offer structure. People who have trouble with time management may find that traditional classes help them stay accountable to their schedule and their responsibilities.

What to Expect With Online Classes

Every college that offers online classes has its own learning platform. After you sign up for your first class, you should log into your account to make sure there are no compatibility issues with your computer or browser. You’ll want to address these ahead of your first scheduled class. You’ll also need to become familiar with the platform and all of its features so that you can hit the ground running once your class starts.

You can access the class from anywhere, but you’ll want to make sure you have a reliable, high-speed internet connection. You should also plan to take your classes in a room that has as few distractions as possible. If you share your home with other family members, ask them to avoid interrupting you during class time.

Once you log in, you can follow the on-screen directions to view class lectures, submit assignments and access course materials. You can also use the online platform to contribute to in-class discussions and interact with your fellow students.

Online classes are designed to be completed from anywhere. However, if you live near the university, you might still want to visit the campus once in a while. You may want to use the library, for example, or meet up with your fellow students. Even as an online student, you can still take advantage of campus resources, including clubs and activities.

The Advantages of Online College Classes

There is no denying the fact that online learning has become extremely popular over the past decade. Many college students prefer online classes because they are convenient and accessible, with a platform that allows you to learn from anywhere. This also means that you’ll be connecting with other students who might be across the country or on the other side of the world. You’ll benefit from their diverse perspectives and worldviews.

Online classes tend to offer a more flexible schedule, making them a great fit for college students who have responsibilities outside of school. For example, you might be working full-time while going to college on a part-time basis. An online class will save you the time you’d otherwise spend commuting to campus.

Another benefit of completing your college degree online is that online education helps you improve your time management skills and deepen your intrinsic motivation. You’ll develop greater self-discipline as you work through your schedule of classes, assignments and study time.

Grand Canyon University is proud to support the academic goals of our diverse learning community by offering flexible degree paths. You can choose from our online, traditional and evening college classes. We also offer a hybrid learning path, enabling working adults to complete their degree with a mix of online courses and on-campus evening classes. Are you ready to learn more? Click the Request Info button at the top of your screen to begin planning how you can fit learning into your schedule.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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