Are Online Classes Difficult?

17:48 11 March in Online Class

Are online class difficult? What most people are really asking when they ask this questions is whether or not online classes are more or less difficult than traditional classes. And in truth, a lot of this depends on what kind of student you are.

Have you ever had that dream where you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a final for a class you didn’t know you were even taking? It’s one I used to get at the beginning of every week of midterms or finals, all four years of my college degree, despite the fact that I knew, intellectually, that it was impossible for me to first, show up at a final for a class I didn’t know was on my schedule and second, to forget an entire class.

The concept is a little less outlandish when you are taking online classes. You probably won’t forget for an entire semester that you are taking an online class, but, especially if you are taking online classes and in-person classes at the same time, you might find yourself forgetting to tend to your online class. It takes a certain level of dedication to get online and finish your tasks when they are required of you—something that students who have only ever had in-person classes might struggle with a little bit.

But are these classes inherently more difficult than in-person classes? Again, that will depend on the class and the university or program offering that class. Some classes are going to be more difficult than others, for different people. That is the nature of humans and their ability to learn. On a more objective note, however, it is probably fair to say that online classes will be just as difficult as any other type of class.

Some students will find the format easier than in-person classes and will therefore excel in an online class with the exact same subject matter and syllabus as an in-person class they might not have been able to engage with. The opposite is also true. The ability to generally work on the class whenever you have the time to and wherever you have internet access can make schooling much more convenient for those that do not live close to a campus or simply do not have the time to take classes during the day.

In general, you will want an online class to be at least as difficult as an in-person class. If you are taking online classes simply because you think they are easier than in-person classes, you are probably first, going to be disappointed and second, even if you are not disappointed, will probably still eventually be disappointed with the information you learned in that class.

It is important to be realistic with yourself about whether or not you have the time to take online classes. Many people choose online because they believe it is going to be much easier for them to integrate into their busy lifestyles. And while that is true, it is not true that you could not find yourself too overwhelmed with classes, in addition to all of your other responsibilities. While you do not have to factor in the time that it takes to drive to and from a campus, and you can work on the material at your own pace, which might be faster than what you would experience in a physical classroom, if you do not have ten hours a week to devote to your classes, trying to take online classes that require that kind of commitment will actually be more difficult than if you were taking classes on a campus. It is usually much easier to be reasonable about your course load when you have to go to and sit in a class, in addition to doing homework and taking tests.

You will still have to show up for online classes, just as regularly as you would for offline classes. Online classes also provide you with an opportunity to be invisible in classes, which may make learning more difficult if you require more personal attention or class interaction in order to stay engaged with a course.

So, are online classes difficult? The truth is that it depends on the class and it depends on the person. If you weight the positives and the negatives of online classes, online classes will almost always have more positives than negatives for most people. You can cover the same course material, at the same difficulty level as a traditional class, without the baggage that comes along with campuses and classrooms. In that respect, they are easier. When it comes to the hardness of the class itself, however, they are neither more difficult nor easier than offline classes.