How Do Online Classes Work?

Everyone knows how traditional classes work. You attend lecture, see your professor and fellow students face-to-face, and turn in hard copies of your assignments. But what about online courses? How do those work?

Online classes are delivered through course management systems. These serve as platforms through the university’s server to connect students to their professors and one another. Each digital learning platform is customizable and scalable in design, but they generally feature similar components to execute a successful course. These platforms all have the capability to host class discussion boards, announcements, assignments, course content, mail, learning modules, assessments, and grade books.

Take time to familiarize yourself with the various commands and components in your virtual class. Most online course management systems are intuitive.

The biggest draw and most convenient aspect of online classes is the flexibility of when and where you complete your coursework. Be sure to check your syllabus and understand what is expected of you throughout the semester. Even better, most course management systems are available on mobile devices so you can complete your coursework, anytime, anywhere.

The standards for student participation are different for each professor and course. Some online classes may focus heavily on discussion threads and written responses, while others utilize vlogs and video presentations. Don’t let the medium for engagement intimidate you; trust that there is a reason a professor has assigned a particular avenue and that it is meant to build skills and strengths for the career path you are on.

Online classes aren’t quite as different from traditional courses as you might think; so don’t take online classes with the notion they are easier or less vigorous than traditional classes. The course workload is similar in both settings. The standards are not slackened in online classes - you are expected to produce exceptional work. In some ways, online courses are more demanding because there’s not a scheduled time you’re expected to attend class. It can be tempting to procrastinate on assignments or to become lax and not listen to the entire lecture. Online classes require a great amount of self-discipline and focus.

If you’re interested in enrolling in online classes, or have more questions about how online classes fit for you, contact our advisors at 972.694.4162 or online at We would be honored to connect with you and guide you through this next phase of your education!

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