Q&A: Do online classes require more work?

Answer: In online classes, students are expected to do the same amount of work as in a "traditional" or "ground" class. It may seem like more work because you are doing everything on a computer. However, let's examine the amount of time and responsibilities needed for both.

At a traditional school, students attend class once or more each week for a few hours or more, depending on the program and school. Each week, students are expected to read and review course materials to discuss in class. Just as you are expected to attend class on a specific day or days, you are expected to be in the online classroom a specific number of days and/or hours each week. This time is spent reviewing the syllabus, reading course materials such as lecture notes and resources, viewing relevant media (such as videos or news clips) and engaging in the discussion forums. Most online schools expect students to be in the forums two to three days per week. Online students are expected to engage, regularly, in the discussion forums. It's important to read the course and weekly materials so you are able to respond to your instructor and have qualitative communication with peers.

In traditional classes, students are expected to take quizzes (or tests). The same is expected for online students. Online, your quizzes and/or tests may be timed or setup for a specific day and/or time. It is also the students' responsibility to remember to take the quiz or test and to submit it on time.

For both traditional classes and online classes, students will have assignments. You are expected to submit your assignments on time for either learning setting. In any educational environment, you want to make sure to thoroughly read the syllabus and course policies on late assignments and to understand the potential ramifications for submitting pieces late. Some instructors do not accept late assignments; others do, with a penalty.

Whether you are in a traditional classroom setting or taking classes online, students are expected to be present, to learn and to participate. Both environments require dedication and responsibility and this comes into play when submitting your assignments on time as well as engaging fully in class.

Dr. Beverley BrowningDr. Beverly A. Browning has been consulting in the areas of grant writing, contract bid responses, and organizational development for nearly four decades. Her clients have included chambers of commerce, faith-based organizations, units of local and county municipal governments, state and federal government agencies, school districts and colleges, social and human service agencies, hospitals, fire departments, service associations, and Fortune 500 corporations. Dr. Browning has assisted clients and workshop participants throughout the United States in receiving awards of more than $250 million. Dr. Browning is the author of over 37 grants-related publications, including Grant Writing For Dummies™, Grant Writing for Educators, How to Become a Grant Writing Consultant, Faith-Based Grants: Aligning Your Church to Receive Abundance, and Perfect Phrases for Writing Grant Proposals. She holds degrees in Organizational Development, Public Administration, and Business Administration. Dr. Browning is a grant writing course developer and online facilitator for Ed2Go.com; former faculty member at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management and a current member of the American Association of Grant Professionals. She is CEO of Bev Browning & Associates (BBA, Inc.); Founder and Director of the Grant Writing Training, and most recently, the new Vice President for Grants Professional Services at eCivis Inc. (www.ecivis.com)