Are Online College Classes Harder Than Traditional College Classes?

Attending college online provides a great deal of flexibility. Most classes are designed to accommodate a personal schedule while featuring periodic check-ins through seminars or proctored examinations.

The volume of reading required for online college classes is often higher, and the number of large projects, such as research papers or case studies, can be more demanding. However, tests lean toward the simple due to the limitations of the learning interface.

Whether a program is hard or not varies based on the university chosen and the academic strengths and weaknesses of each student.

Academic Rigor Equivalent To Traditional In-Person Classes

Online college is no longer the domain of a few universities designed to focus on virtual classrooms. More colleges — from the small campus to the flagship state university —are offering new online classes in place of night school, to provide greater flexibility to on-campus students and to boost overall enrollment.

These courses are the equivalent of their in-person counterparts in terms of academic rigor. The same texts are used, the same grades required and at times, the same tests administered.

The difficulty lies in different approaches to learning and what works best for the individual.

Amount Of Work Depends On Coursework

For the online college student, classes are typically organized into weekly learning goals with established deadlines.

Course modules are built with weekly discussion questions to facilitate conversation between classmates. Participation in multiple discussions is often required to earn top scores on homework.

For example, in a literature class, weekly assignments will include reading multiple short stories, plays and poems and typing responses to queries posed by the professor. A discussion question may have a length requirement for responses and dictate a minimum number of replies to other students.

A large weekly assignment may be reading a longer story and writing an essay.

Some professors do alternate mini-quizzes with long-form essays for one week of class and longer quizzes with responsive questions on a different week.

A math or accounting course will still feature discussion questions. However, they may focus on answering textbook problems or explaining a theory to classmates.

Large weekly projects will include filling out digital ledgers or completing homework assignments in Excel or a third-party website created by textbook manufacturers.

The nature of online courses makes them very reading and writing intensive. For students who learn better through oral lectures, an online class will be harder.

Video lectures appear more in math classes as problems are explained and analyzed.

The nature of online courses makes them very reading and writing intensive. For students who learn better through oral lectures, an online class will be harder.

A person uncomfortable with writing will also find the classes extremely difficult.

For individuals who require reading about a concept to fully understand it, the courses can provide a welcome change from lecture-driven classes.

Writers will love online courses and likely find them either a lesser or equal challenge to in-person classes.

Testing May Be A Lot Easier

Tests for online college classes can be easier than in-class tests.

Many online colleges rely on timed weekly mini-tests of 10 to 20 questions to gauge a student’s understanding of the coursework. These tests are multiple choice or short answer quizzes designed. They feature a minimum amount of time to keep students from being able to look up every answer.

Overall, there are usually more tests in an online class, but most are less complicated for students, particular those who can read and compose answers more quickly.

Other tests, such as mid-terms or final exams, match on-campus tests for complexity and may be proctored, either in person or virtually, to prevent the use of forbidden materials.

Overall, there are usually more tests in an online class, but most are less complicated for students, particular those who can read and compose answers more quickly.

Lifestyle Impacts On Online Classes

Telecommuting to class, while necessary for many students, makes self-motivation and devotion to finishing a degree path a must. Without attending classes and routinely interfacing with a professor, it’s easier to slack off during a bad week or skip a deadline that overlaps with work demands.

For students with full-time responsibilities outside of the classroom, it is easy to earn low grades on work that seems less difficult on the surface but does require time to complete.

With the accelerated semesters of many online programs, two bad weeks can ruin an overall class grade.

With the accelerated semesters of many online programs, two bad weeks can ruin an overall class grade.

An online college degree program is hard to complete due to the perseverance it requires. However, individual classes are often only as difficult as their on-campus counterparts.

For those who enjoy writing and are able to read and process a lot of material quickly, they may be an easier and more efficient alternative than a full campus experience.

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