Should you take online classes?

11.05.2012

As a mom, you begin to learn that not everything goes as planned. Going to college when you are a mother can be a little hectic. Okay, a lot hectic. Thankfully, with our growing technology, most colleges offer great alternatives to nontraditional students such as young parents. One of these is offering courses online. 

Online classes provide flexibility to meet the needs of a busy schedule. The majority of online classes allow you to do assignments on your own time. This means you can "go to college" after the kids go to bed or during their naptime. You can attend classes in your pajamas while sipping coffee and patting yourself on the back for finally getting the little one down for a nap. 

Overall, I have taken approximately 80% of my college classes online. The subjects have ranged from Composition to Calculus to Child Development. It did take me awhile to get the hang of the online format. They require discipline and greatly differ from on-campus courses. Also, every online class tends to be different depending on the instructor. 

If you are considering taking online classes, start out slow. When you meet with your adviser, see what classes are being offered online that semester. Find one that interests you and is somewhat easy (don't try to take Calculus as your first online class). Typically, online classes will be available a couple days before the semester starts. If not, email the professor to see if they have the syllabus or to ask questions about the general set-up of the class. Some professors require log-in and participation class in discussions 3-4 times a week. It is important to know what will be required of you so you know what to expect. If you don't think the professors set-up is right for you, don't be afraid to drop the class (ASAP -- so you get your money back!). Remember to have a "back up" class just in case this happens. 

WHY SHOULD YOU TAKE AN ONLINE CLASS? 

  • Create your own schedule 
  • More time to spend with your family 
  • Open note/book exams* 
  • Save gas money
  • More availability for work hours

* note: Most online classes allow this but not all of them

Online classes are typically not "easier" than on-campus courses. I have heard many people use this reason for taking online classes. This is not the case. While many online classes allow open note/book exams, this does not mean you can get away without studying. In fact, I have had many online classes that were more difficult than they would be in a classroom setting. Do not expect your online class to be "easier".


In general, online classes open a whole new realm of possibilities for young parents attending college. This gives them the flexibility and free time that is needed when raising a child. Personally, I have taken full advantage of this wonderful technology and highly recommend other students to give it a try as well!

5 Responses to “Should you take online classes?”

  1. I love online classes. I've taken a bit during my undergraduate career and I really wish there were more offered at my school. I think there aren't many offered within my field for graduate school because it really is more of a hands-on field. I do believe that they should at least try to make the curriculum more suitable for parents. As a matter of fact, it isn't really suited for professionals as the classes are during the day rather than in the evening. I think we're the only major that has classes like that. -_-

    I love online classes but I also like being on campus and in that classroom setting, yanno?

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    1. I love online classes, too! I'm thinking of applying to graduate school online. But I agree that some colleges and certain programs don't offer a lot of choices with online classes. Thankfully, I have been able to take most of my credits online. People think I am crazy. But if it came down to it, I definitely prefer on campus classes. I love the interaction and what not. But online classes are just SO much better with my little guy. Nowadays, certain professors are REALLY big on "attendance". And it is usually hard for me to make ALL of my classes ALL of the time.

      Thanks for you comment :)

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  2. I've taken a lot of online classes and there are three problems, as I see it. First, it is not less work, and while you have flexibility in when you spend time on class, you don't save much time other than the commute. It's hard to get other people to understand that it's the same or more work than going in person. Second, I get fed up explaining that my kid goes to daycare while I have online school. School is school and I can't devote my attention to childcare and be a good student at the same time. Third, because there's a perception that no online class has proctored exams (where someone is making sure you don't cheat), most people scoff at online classes and assume you must cheat all the time. It's a lot of work to take a quality online class, no cheating is allowed, and it is frustrating to get no respect for that hard work. I'm not sure how I feel about attendance-heavy professors (some of my classes you fail if you are gone too much) and attendance in online classes really makes me frustrated because clearly, I'm only hurting me if I don't "attend" in a timely manner. Anyway, rambling, thanks for the post. More people need to think before deciding to "just take a class online" because, as you point out, it's not so simple and does take lots of time.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment :) I feel like you jumped into my brain, because I know exactly what you are talking about. My son does preschool/daycare because I take online classes and people get super confused about that. I am just like...it is essentially a class that I do from home. I schedule the time like a normal class. Also, I agree that online classes are NOT less work. In fact, sometimes they are MORE work and HARDER. Some online classes don't offer much flexibility honestly. I have had classes with assignments due on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and a quiz on Sunday. These really don't offer much advantage.

      I could ramble on about this forever too! But thanks for checking out the blog and leaving your input.

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  3. The online classes allow students to acquire knowledge and skills at their own pace and convenience. As a person is not required to attend regular classes, a mom can easily learn while taking care of the child.

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