What is going on friends! Semester is a rolling here at Illinois as we’re coming up on week 3 of the spring semester. Crazy how fast the last one is moving. I wanted to talk to you guys about online classes in case any of you were curious about how they worked. This semester, I am taking 2 online classes. One is in the first 8 weeks of the semester, and the second starts on week 8.
What an Online Class is Really Like
Lat fall, I took my first online class called IB 411, Bioinspiration. I thought it sounded cool, and I wanted to learn about the technology biology has inspired. This class started on week 8 of the semester, and the first 3 weeks threw me for a loop. I was not at all used to reserving so much time to an online class, but I learned that you need to stay on top of it. Online classes move fast, and sometimes you have to check the page every day of the week.
For Bioinspiration, we had multiple readings, videos, and presentations to watch at the start of the week. Although no one checks to see if you did the readings, you have to do them because everything that following week is related to them. Our first assignment was due on Wednesdays. This was usually composed of a bigger assignment where we had to use the readings to understand and explain a bio-inspired technology. These were usually 500-1000 word long discussion posts that classmates would reply to. On Thursdays, another smaller assignment would be due. These assignments would rotate every two weeks. On Friday, our replies to classmates posts that were posted Wednesday were due, and on Sunday, we had to reply to the responses on our own post. We also had a minute paper and quiz due on Mondays.
I think it is clear to see that online classes take up a lot more time than people would expect. In addition, this class was only the last 8 weeks of the semester, meaning we had to learn 16 weeks worth on content in 8 weeks. Needless to say, the class kept me on my toes, and I will admit that sometimes I forgot to finish a few things on time. I think it’s natural for this to happen, but once you start slacking, the slope continues.
Pros of an Online Class
I learned a lot in the class but most importantly, I loved that I could do all of it from the comfort of my own couch or even at work. Sometimes when I had free time at work, I would get ahead on my online class. I taught myself to always keep myself busy and made sure I was constantly motivated to get it done. I am trying to translate this to this semester as I am taking two more online classes.
Who Should Take an Online Class
I have had a lot of people ask me if I would recommend online classes, and I would say yes, if you’re accountable. It’s easy to forget an online class and then just say you’ll drop it, but that requirement will carry on to the next semester and you’ll have to either take it again or find a different class that fills that. This is why I waited until my senior year to take online classes. I think this was a good choice for me because I know that I was not responsible enough as a freshman or sophomore to take one. But this is just me. If you trust yourself and know you’re accountable, I say why not give them a try. I have even had a lot of friends say they hate them because they feel like they don’t learn the material as well, but you’ll never know until you try.
I hope this posts provides some insight to you all about how online classes work. The classes I am taking this semester have a very similar format, but I will admit are less work. This is very much due to the class level. IB 411 was a 400-level course, meaning there is more work required, and the classes I’m taking this semester (GLBL 100 and SPED 117) are 100-level courses, so the course load is much less. Keep this in mind when signing up for classes.
As many of you are coming up on your final semester of high school, I want to remind you all to enjoy your senior year. I appreciate you reading my blogs and preparing yourself for life at (hopefully) Illinois, but high school is bitter sweet; you’ll have time to worry about college when you get there. Enjoy your last moments of home.
Till next time, friends!