Your experience with online college classes is similar to traditional types of education. Most education simply combines a teacher, facilitator or mentor with a student and some type of curricula. While in the traditional sense a classroom combines these three components to create the educational experience, for online college classes the Internet facilitates the combination of these three elements.

Because online education is still relatively new phenomenon there is not yet a set way of going about structuring the experience. In fact, there may never be a uniform structure to online education. There is more and more research showing that students have differing learning styles. This may contribute to the already differing ways that programs are set up. Here are a few of the common structures found in online college classes.

Self-paced: At the most basic level of online classes, you merely receive your materials to study and when you feel that you know the material well enough you take a test. In this method there is very little interaction between students were even teachers and students. In some courses there is even no interaction at all. This is helpful methodology for letting students proceed at their own pace; however, in it you lose some of the great benefits of student and teacher interaction.

Instructor-led: A step up from the self-paced method is the type in which you interact with a professor or course instructor to get feedback on your materials and get help for the direction of your projects. This may be the most common type of online class. Between the time you receive your assignment and the end of the term you’re allowed to work with classmates, asked the teacher for help and work on your projects and as long as you finish yours assignments by the end of the term your okay. If your online college classes are formatted this way just to make sure to get your assignments finished the soonest possible to prevent cramming at the end of the term or semester.

Real-time: The most interactive type of online education is something that mimics real life classrooms. While in the early days of online college classes you would have been hard-pressed to find this type, it’s becoming more and more popular. Improvements in technology and Internet connection speeds have really allowed this type of education to flourish. Here you may attend a live class through a video interface with your professor and perhaps even other students. Like other online classes you will do tests and papers, but student to student and student to teacher interactions are greatly increased in this type of learning.

One of the styles of classes is most likely to be a better fit for you. Consider some of your needs and goals than choose the type that’s best for you.

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