Normandale Lofo

What Should I Expect?

Online learning can have a positive impact on numerous lifestyle factors. Discover whether taking online classes is right for your lifestyle. Select factors below that pertain to you to find out.

“I need to be home for my kids or other family members.”

• 24/7 flexibility
• Be available for family members who require care
• Study while children are asleep or at school
• Care for elderly or handicapped family members
• Study days, nights, or weekends
• Make a schedule that keeps you on top of course work
  • Online learning's 24/7 schedule flexibility lets you log into class at times that work for you. You can complete your coursework while your children are asleep or at school or when your spouse can be home to watch the kids. Stay home with elderly or handicapped family members, yet still continue your studies. Complete course activities days, nights, or weekends - whatever works best for your schedule.

    But with this flexibility comes responsibility. Many instructors set regular deadlines that limit when you can do assignments, so you need to keep on top of the class work and plan ahead. For advice on how to manage your time, see the Skills module.

“I need to work.”

• Work part time, fulltime, nights, day, or weekends
• Complete course work during off hours
• Take classes not offered near you
• International learning opportunities
• Military personal can take online courses while on active duty
• Can accommodate a travel schedule
• Do your course work anywhere
• Requires reliable high speed internet access
  • Whether you work part time, fulltime, days, nights, or weekends, online learning gives you the flexibility to complete your course work during your office hours. You can also satisfy a degree requirement or take a class that might not be offered at your current college. In fact, online learning is available internationally. A recent G.I. bill pays for military personnel to take online courses. People working or living overseas for any reason can continue their education.

    If you need to travel, online learning accommodates your schedule. Complete your course work in the airport, on a plane, or in a hotel. Of course, you'll need to make sure you can find free internet access or be willing to pay for it at hotels or airports.

“Saving money is important.”

• Reduce or eliminate transportation costs
• Reduce or eliminate child care costs
• Use time saved commuting on course work
• Consider laptop and internet access costs
  • Online learning saves you money in all of these ways:

    • Reduce or eliminate car expenses or bus fares.
    • Work around your kids' schedules so you can reduce or eliminate child care costs.
    • For some, saving time also means earning more money. Use the time you save commuting to school to spend more hours on the job.

    You should consider costs of buying and maintainting your laptop and internet access, though.

“Saving time is important.”

• No driving or communting to campus
• Eliminate traffic or weather challenges
• Save time by not parking and walking to class
• Eliminate time lost between classes
• Convenient access to instructors via email and chat
  • With online learning, you seldom, if ever, have to go to campus. This eliminates a lot of time wasters including: driving or communting to campus; getting stuck in traffic or dealing with bad weather; parking and walking to class; time lost between classes; and convenient access to instructors via email and chat.

“I can't or don't want to commute to school.”

Commuting can be a problem for many reasons:

• You don't own or have access to a car

• You're not on a bus route

• Your lifestyle or work includes travel

• There is no college campus within reasonable drive time
  • Commuting can be a problem for a lot of reasons. Maybe you don't own or can't afford a car. You may not be on a bus route, or the college is just too far for you to travel.

    With online classes, your classroom is anywhere you have access to high speed internet. For example, you might want to travel during the school semester, or maybe you have to travel for work.

    Remember that you might have to come to the campus occasionally. For some online classes, instructors require you come to campus for exams, labs, groups projects, or other activites. Check each course requirement carefully and plan accordingly.

“I want to gain experience working with technology.”

Online learning gives you expereince with technology:
 
• Enhance computer and virtual technology skills
• Learn to collaborate with colleagues globally and across time zones
• Learn to apply new computer and web applications
  • Online classes can help you learn computer and other technology skills needed in the workplace. Learn to work with others globally and across time zones by using the internet to attend class, research information and communicate with other students. Use browsers, word processing, spreadsheets, multi-media software, social networking tools, and other applications to complete your coursework.

“I prefer to learn and communicate online rather than in the classroom.”

• Intersting ways to learn
• Time to think before answering
• Increased diversity of opinions
• Online friendships and networking opportunities
• Accessible instructors
• Fewer problems with schedules and meetings
• Revelant course materials and current news events
• Combine online and campus options
  • Here's a typical conversation among students who are talking about why online learning suits their learning and communication styles.

    Brian:
    My online classes have been really interesting. They included videos, group projects, and internet reserach, not just lectures and readings.

    Trevor:
    Online classes give me the time I need to answer discussion questions. I like being able to think about my answers for a while before I post them.

    Dawn:
    I agree. I think I acutally talk MORE in online discussions than I do in the classroom. Everyone gets to participate, too.

    Brian:
    I've made a lot of friends online, and it gives me more access to my instructor and classmates.

    Trevor:
    Yes, in fact, it's easier for me to talk to instructors online than in the classroom. I can use online chats or email to ask questions any time without waiting for office hours.

    Dawn:
    I used to think that I'd miss working on team learning projects, but online tools actually make group activities easier in lots of ways. We use e-mail, chat tools, document sharing sites, and discussion groups for meetings and joint work. I don't have to deal with finding meeting times and locations that work for everybody.

    Brian:
    I like that I can take courses that wouldn't be available to me where I live. The technical college nearest me doesn't offer all the classes I need, but I can take them online right from my home.

    Trevor:
    I like that the instructors can use up-to-date information on the internet, including current news events.

    Dawn:
    Most of all, I like that I can take both online and campus classes for the best of both worlds.

Summary

• Be available to care for kids or other family members
• Balance school and work
• Save money
• Save time
• Reduce or eliminate commutes
• Gain experience working with technology
• Learn using your preferred style

  • In this module, you've considered serveral lifestlye factors. Hopefully this information has given you a better sense of whether online learning will fit into your lifestyle. Check out the Resources link on the online education homepage to find the resources for this module.