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Online Programs

What is online learning? How does it work?

In a traditional classroom, you often learn by listening, reading, writing, and doing other activities led by your instructor. Online courses are different because you are not in the same location as your instructor or other students. In fact, you probably will never meet your instructor or classmates in person.

Taking an Online Class

You "attend" an online class by visiting the class web pages. You complete assignments according to the class schedule. Students communicate with the instructor and classmates using e-mail and online discussion forums.

This class format is very flexible for busy schedules. Students can often log on to the course at any time of the day (or night). Computer skills and determination are necessary to be successful. You'll need keyboarding skills and must be able to write so that others can understand.

Interaction and Feedback

Online students may have more contact with their fellow students online than they would in the regular classroom. There are many ways to interact online, including discussion boards, e-mail, and group activities. It can be a fun way to meet students. It can also be a great way to broaden your learning experience.

Students may also receive more personal feedback than they would in a traditional classroom. Your fellow students might read and respond to your work. Your instructor might give you more comments (both formal and informal).

Next Steps

Source: Adapted from the Minnesota Department of Education.

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