Perhaps taking online courses are the only way you will be able to earn your degree while balancing professional and personal responsibilities. Or, maybe, you find yourself taking online courses even if you didn't plan to. Either way, you may have concerns that stem from common misconceptions about course expectations and requirements.
So, we tracked down the most common myths students believe, and asked our mentors (yes, those mentors, the ones assessing your grades) to officially bust them and share what online learning is really like, once and for all. Let the debunking begin…
Myth #1: Because it’s an online course, I don’t really have to spend that much time on it.
BUSTED BY: Dr. Sandra Harris, School of Business and Management
“Start with one course to acclimate to the online environment. It is necessary to get into the “classroom” several times a week. Be prepared to spend four to six hours per week on the course.”
Myth #2: It isn’t necessary to schedule or set aside blocks of “class time.”
BUSTED BY: Brandi Megan Granett, W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing
"The biggest upshot to learning online is that you get to control your time, and when time is in short supply because of work and family responsibilities, you need to find flexible and supportive ways to reach your goals. Adults learners need to take charge of their own experience from time management to why they are pursuing higher education in the first place. This self-direction and drive makes them great to work with!"
Myth #3: I only have to put effort into my papers and exams; what I write on the discussion board doesn’t matter.
BUSTED BY: Jordan Goldberg, Heavin School of Arts, Sciences and Technology
“[The Discussion Board] is what makes the online dialogue so interesting. Students respond to the topics in the course from various perspectives. I keep an eye on the introductions students post at the beginning of every term to determine how best to tailor my instructional methods to their needs. It is more conducive to learning to interact with other students in an online medium. You are not only learning the subject, but developing stronger written and communication skills that are vital in industry today.”
Myth #4: There’s nothing my classmates can teach me.
BUSTED BY: Dr. Gloria Frederick, John S. Watson School of Public Service
“Many adult learners are already active citizens who bring practical experience to the theory and foundation of community development … by its very nature, the online learning platform and related discussion boards provoke collaboration among students seeking to share their professional views and examine the solutions they might have at their disposal.”
AND BUSTED BY: Robert Saldarini, School of Business and Management
“The wonderful variety of backgrounds, and life and professional experiences of our students bring textbook assignments to life. In my conventional classes, most of the examples come from me; in a TESU course, the most influential examples come from our own students."
Myth #5: I’m just a name on the computer screen so the mentor will never notice if I don’t participate.
BUSTED BY: Dr. Amy Hannon, Heavin School of Arts, Sciences and Technology
“Online courses demand far more direct involvement of a student who is typically submitting six written assignments per term in addition to taking exams. This requires an active mentor involvement in critiquing their writing, which results in exchanges that often surpass the interaction found in a classroom-based course. All the while, there is the obligatory flow of discussion board postings. In our online courses, no one can opt to sit in the back row and sleep.”
Myth #6: Online discussion boards don’t allow for the same participation that a traditional classroom discussion can offer.
BUSTED BY: Dr. Khaled M. Abdel Ghany, School of Business and Management
“Online classes allow many students to express themselves more freely and to ask more questions than the students in the classroom, who are sometimes shy to speak up in front of everyone.”
AND BUSTED BY: Dr. Robert Price, Heavin School of Arts, Sciences and Technology
“Online classes have many advantages that face-to-face classes do not. An online discussion gives everyone time to think about their responses and everyone gets 'heard'."
Written by Thomas Edison State University