How Do Online College Classes Work?

Even though online colleges are becoming more popular, a lot of us still have some questions about how they work. Traditional schooling involves a strict schedule, being physically present in class, and so much more. It is a process entirely focused around being at a set location at a set time. Since online college does not involve time spent in a classroom or on campus, many people are confused about what attending an online college class is really like. The reality is that in many ways, online colleges simply work as if your computer is the physical location. In this article, we are going to breakdown what you can expect from an online college class experience.

The Lectures Are Video-Based

Since you won’t be attending a physical campus, your instructor will instead provide videos to suit your lecture needs. Some instructors will provide physical video footage of them teaching as if you are in the actual classroom. Others will use narration techniques mixed with animations or drawing tools so that you are staring at a virtual whiteboard. For class, you will simply watch these lectures online instead of in person.

Communication Is Almost Always Written

In an online college class, the majority of your communications will be through written online platforms. Most professors rely on emails as well as messages in provided student interfaces. Rather than simply talking to your teacher during set office hours, you can communicate virtually at a time that works for both of you. In addition to communicating with teachers this way, online discussion boards are often used to facilitate interactions between students and their peers. This is a great way for you to interact, respond to assignments, and offer peer reviews on papers as well as projects.

Tests Are Often Proctored

A big point of confusion surrounding online colleges is based around exams. You might be wondering how these exams can be considered credible when anyone can simply look up the answers. The reality is that cheaters are not any more successful online than they are in person. Most exams involve online proctors who will actually observe you through a webcam. At the very least, the systems that you take the test on will monitor how you use your computer, so your teachers will know if you’re cheating by looking up the answers.

They Work On Your Schedule

Though some online college classes might ask you to show up for certain online meetings at a set time, this isn’t the standard. The real benefit of online college courses is that they work on your schedule. You can work freely on your own time as long as you meet set deadlines, which is what all of your assignments and exams will have.


For some, online college courses seem unimaginable. The majority of people have spent their time learning in a classroom and are a little uncertain about seeing that change. Rest assured that online college classes make it easy for you to learn just like you would on a physical campus, and in many ways, online colleges can be more accommodating depending on your circumstances. At the end of the day, learning is learning, and your classes are made to help you with that!