How Is Online Study Different?

​​​​How Do Traditional Classes Compare to Online Classes?

In a traditional class you can expect to:

  • Go to class on specific days at specific times
  • Work through the chapters in a textbook
  • Meet with your instructor in class and listen as he or she goes over class materials, explains concepts and answers questions
  • Visit with your instructor face-to-face
  • Complete some assignments in the classroom

In an online class you can expect to:

  • Log in everyday (including on weekends)
  • Learn by reading and interacting with online instructional materials
  • Take part in online activities with other students
  • Follow a schedule of what you need to do each week
  • Be responsible for creating a plan of how you will use your time throughout the week
  • Complete all your assignments electronically — normally that means producing a text document, but it could include using a cell phone to create video or take photos
  • Contact your instructor primarily by email

What Do Students Say About Studying Online?

“I’ve taken face-to-face classes, and online classes don’t require less effort, time or work. You still have to make time each week to complete assignments and meet deadlines.”

“I completed an eight-week online class. Each week, I had to spend at least 12 hours working on reading and assignments for the class. 

Read the syllabus first, figure out a schedule and stick to it. Also ask your instructor for help when you need it!”

“I enjoyed studying online and having a more flexible schedule, but it’s tough! When they say eight to 10 hours each week, it’s eight to 10 hours each week or more in some weeks.”

Be Prepared to Study Online

It’s important you think carefully about the decision to take an online class. Ideally, you should be able to answer “yes” to all the questions below. 

  1. Do you have reliable access to a computer and the internet
  2. Can you use a web browser to search the internet?
  3. Do you have basic computer skills such as sending/receiving email or creating a document?
  4. Are you comfortable asking for help with technology if needed?
  5. Are you self-motivated and do you enjoy working independently?
  6. Can you manage time efficiently and complete tasks on time?
  7. Can you learn from reading information online and watching videos?
  8. Can you follow written instructions to complete a task?
  9. Are you able to capture your ideas in writing
If you answered “no” to a few of these questions, consider the steps you can take to making the answer “yes,” as these are important factors in helping you succeed.

Required Technical Skills

You will need some basic technical skills for most online classes:

Note: All Dallas College students can use Microsoft Office 365 for free, including Microsoft Word on the web.