The Structure of Online Courses

The Structure of Online Courses

To provide prospective online students with insight about how online courses are structured in terms of attending sessions and the length of the course.

The Structure of Online Courses

The Structure of Online Courses

Before you enroll in online courses, make sure that your time or schedule makes a smooth connection with the college or university that you plan to be a student of. Doing so, will allow you to plan your studies, family and work schedules accordingly, without time deprived conflicts occurring. One major observation is that it is imperative that you are aware of the attendance (roster-check in) requirements. For example, online courses are usually structured in two types of classifications: 1. Asynchronous and 2. Synchronous. The following depicts the structuring of asynchronous and synchronous courses:


· The week structure is usually from Monday-Sunday (7 days)

· Allows students to attend online courses without a structured time

· Students under this classification usually are required to check into class once a week

· Weekly assignments are usually due by Sunday (before midnight) unless otherwise stated

· Students may have more flexibility in their personal lives and are able to manage studies well

· There is usually less cramming for completing assignments under this type of classification

· Students who fail to check in at least once a week, will find themselves dropped from their course if they miss 2 or 3 check ins (depending on the university or college)


· The week structure is usually from Monday-Friday (5 days)

· Students are required to attend online courses within a structured time (for example: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6pm-8pm or Tuesday and Thursday from 7pm-10pm)

· Students under this classification are required to check here into class during the designated days and times of the week

· Weekly assignments are due on any day, in which the course is scheduled to meet

· Students may have less flexibility in their personal lives, due to the set course days and may not be able to manage their studies well

· There may be more cramming for completing assignments; being that the week structure as well as the time per session are shorter

· Students who fail to make 4 or 5 check ins, may find themselves being dropped from their course (depending on the university or college)

Another major observation of the structure of online courses that is essential is to understand the semester or quarter length of the course. Again, proper understanding of your online school’s structure of quarters or semesters; is keen for balancing work, family and school. Online courses typically stay within the traditional quarter or semester when offering courses. The following entails what is to be expected when your courses fall within a quarter or semester slot:


· Typically lasts for 8 weeks (2 months)

· Is usually fast paced learning

· Offers the student the ability to graduate usually within 2 years or less (if seeking an undergraduate degree)


· Typically lasts for 16 weeks (4 months)

· Is usually a moderate paced type of learning

· Offers the student the ability to graduate usually within 2-4 years (if seeking an undergraduate degree) So now that you have an understanding of how online courses are structured, be sure to choose the right classification (asynchronous or synchronous) or the right course length (quarter or semester) that best suits your needs. Before you register for those courses that you are so eager to take, be certain that you read the course schedules, so that you are in the right structure that meets your needs.

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