RUC wordcloud trnAre online courses right for you?

First of all, let’s be clear: not all online classes are the same, even here at Rutgers University–Camden. However:

  • In general, online classes work best for students who are organized and self motivated
  • You should be comfortable with technology and with communicating in an online environment
  • You will probably be asked to read, listen to, and/or watch lectures online
  • You will certainly be required to participate in respectful, intellectual, online conversations with your professor and your classmates
  • You will upload papers and projects for assessment
  • You may take quizzes and exams online, under time constraints, possibly with a remote proctoring service
  • You may work on group projects with classmates you only ever meet by text or video chat

Does learning online fit your lifestyle? Take this quick quiz!

Do you have access to the necessary technology?

Again, different courses may have different specific requirements, but these needs are universal:

  • Modern Windows or Macintosh computer (smart phone or tablet is not enough, in most cases)
  • Dependable, broad-band internet access (cable or DSL at least)
  • Standard software such as Microsoft Office and up-to-date web browsers (such as Firefox, Chrome, Safari)

In addition, some classes may require:

  • Webcam with microphone
  • Specialty software

How does an online class work? What does it look like?

Rutgers University–Camden online courses are almost always asynchronous, which means there is no set schedule for meeting online or in person. Instead, your week is scheduled with activities that have strict deadlines, but that you can do at the times of day that are best for you. Your schedule might look like this:

  • During the first half of the week, you are reading and watching lectures
  • By mid-week, you must post a thoughtful contribution to the class discussion
  • During the 2nd half of the week, you are responding to your classmates’ posts and answering their questions
  • By the end of the week, you must complete an online quiz and submit a draft of your assignment
  • *Important: If you are taking a summer or winterim course, the deadlines will come quickly. You may be required to meet deadlines on an almost-daily basis. Plan your schedule accordingly.

Notice that deadlines are important in asynchronous online classes, as they keep you and your classmates working together to master the material and construct new knowledge. The workload in an online class should be roughly the same as in a face-to-face class, although you may save on commuting time!