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How Much Time Should Be Spent Studying Per Online Class?

by Buffy Naillon

Studying is a fact of life for students, and while online coursework may offer a student many conveniences, these classes also come with challenges that their traditional counterparts do not. Students attending class online often come into the situation with many misconceptions that cause them to not perform as well as they might otherwise.

Considerations

Clinton Community College in New York describes an online class as something that a student can work at her own pace, but not on her own time. Students in these classes have deadlines to meet just like they would in a face-to-face classroom setting. Moreover, these classes often present more demands on the student's time and workload; most online courses rely more heavily on reading to take the place of a lecture. As well, these classes demand that students have greater writing skills and expect the people in the class to do more writing than they would in an offline course.

Student Profile

Not everyone will do well in an online class. The people who do possess a high amount of motivation. They have likely already achieved a great deal of academic success in their other classes and can apply the time-management skills they've learned in their offline classes to the online environment. Students who feel challenged by any of these requirements should think twice about taking an online course or work to develop the necessary skills and self-discipline it takes to do their coursework online.

Class Structure

Online classes will use a variety of tools to deliver the content of the class. Instructors hold these classes asynchronously much of the time, which means that students can access the course materials at a time that fits their schedule. However, some teachers do have face-to-face meetings with students in their classes. To accomplish these real-time class requirements, instructors will connect with students via technologies such as Adobe Connect, Google Hangouts or Skype. Additionally, students can expect that their teachers may also employ lectures, which they create on their computer desktop with screen capture software such as Camtasia. Instructors might also use videos and audio files or slide shows, as well as also ask students to participate in class discussions via online forums.

Time Requirements

A three-credit in-person class meets for lecture for three hours a week. Instructors of these courses will then guide their students to spend another three to six hours of studying outside the class. A person taking an online class can expect to spend at least the same amount of time. However, many students find that they require more time for online classes than they do for the standard lecture due to the number of projects and the amount of reading they need to do. In total, a student should plan on spending from nine to 14 hours per week on an online class.

About the Author

Buffy Naillon has worked in the media industry since 1999, contributing to Germany's "Der Spiegel" magazine and various websites. She received a bachelor's degree in German from Boise State University. Naillon also attended New York University and participated in the foreign exchange program at Germany's Saarland University. She is completing her master's degree in educational technology at Boise State.

Photo Credits

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