10 Myths About Online Learning

Online vs. Traditional Learning

What Are The 10 Myths About Online Education?

  • Myth #1 – I can do assignments anytime

  • Myth #2 – Online courses do not follow the regular semester

  • Myth #3 – I can "hide" and remain anonymous in an online class

  • Myth #4 – Personal attention doesn’t exist in an online class

  • Myth #5 – Online classes are easier

  • Myth #6 – Broken computers are acceptable excuses

  • Myth #7 –The college will provide me with a computer for this class

  • Myth #8 – I will be taught how to use a computer as part of my online class

  • Myth #9 – Procrastination is OK in online classes

  • Myth #10 – I can cram all my work into one login session

Click the links at left to explore these myths further.

I Can Do Assignments Anytime

Actually, students can logon to complete assignments anytime day or night but assignments have due dates. Deadlines and due dates keep the class cohesive and the class learning together. Online classes are structured and organized by the instructor. Check the class syllabus for the schedule of assignments and their due dates.

Your written assignments and discussions are completed at your leisure (of course, within the parameters of the syllabus) from your personal computer and submitted via the Internet. So, if you want to complete an assignment at two in the afternoon (if that's when you are at your best, instead of 8:00 a.m. when you're not) you can!

Schedule for Online Courses

In reality, nearly all online courses follow the same semester calendar as on-campus courses. Attendance policies are in effect for some online courses. Payment, scheduling, policies for withdrawing and other procedures are typically the same for online courses.

Assignments, textbooks, tests, papers, lectures, discussions, group projects, etc. are present in an online environment just like a traditional class. There are deadlines for these assignments just as there are in the on-campus courses. Be sure to check your syllabus for due dates.

Online courses provide a wonderful opportunity for students who have access to the necessary technology and have a high degree of self-discipline and personal motivation!

Remaining Anonymous

The truth is there are a lot of required discussions and other activities between students and instructors and among the students enrolled in the course. This allows for an opportunity to get to know one another in an open and honest way, so students really cannot remain anonymous. Since these interactions are not face-to-face, however, it allows for shy individuals to participate in a non threatening environment.

You will have a lot of interaction with your classmates and instructor but not face-to-face as in a traditional class. You always have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss topics. This is generally accomplished through the use of email, discussion boards and/or chat communications.

Personal Attention Online

Actually students who take an online course say there is more attention since professors log on daily and respond quickly.

“Popping” in and out of classes will create a feeling of disconnection with the class. You should start the course at the beginning with the other students and keep up with the pace and expectations. Remember you can still call your instructor on the phone. In addition, many professors have created “virtual office hours” with established prescribed times to logon and interact. Online classes create an important community of learners with expected interaction between students and the instructor.

In most cases, you will have a great deal of interaction with your instructor and your classmates, sometimes more than you would in a traditional classroom setting. Some online courses have required “log-on” times, mandatory participation in chat rooms and on discussion boards. This helps to create a sense of community in the online class environment.

Online Classes are Easier

Because of the nature of online courses, they are more demanding and take more time. Extensive reading requirements and time management required for student success in online classes.

Online courses are not easier than traditional courses, just presented in a different format and still have deadlines and due dates. Try to find someone who has already taken an online class and ask them about it. Do not under-estimate the time commitment, pace and demands of an online course!

Broken Computer as an Excuse

This video addresses the myth that you can say your computer broke down as an excuse for not turning in your homework. With computer accessibility on the rise, students have many options available to them for a back-up plan; most online instructors will not accept the excuse that your computer was broken.

A motivated and committed student can always find a computer to turn in assignments on time - the college computer lab and public library are both locations where a computer is generally available. Upfront planning and critical thinking is required in an online class, and that extends to making sure you have access to a working computer and internet connection when its time to complete your assignments.

College Will Provide Computer

This addresses the myth of whether you’ll be provided with a computer to complete your online course. Just because you take an online course doesn’t mean the college will provide the computer - the college will not provide you with a computer.

You must have access to a computer, and in most cases, you must have your own Internet access as well.

Teaching Use of Computers

Do not expect your instructor to spend time teaching you how to use your computer or how to use the Internet. When you sign up for an online course in a specific subject, that subject is what you should expect your instructor to focus on.

If your course requires the use of specialized software of some kind, your instructor will make sure you're taught how to use that specialized software. You should plan to learn to use your computer, how to access the internet, and all the standard online tools such as email, web browsers, word processors, spreadsheets, etc, on your own. In general, you should have these skills prior to beginning your online course.

If you do not have all the skills you need to complete your online course, look for an orientation that will assist you in developing these skills.

Myth: Procrastination is OK

Reality: Procrastination is definitely not OK - procrastination in online courses can cause more problems for students than procrastination in a traditional course.

Online learners need to be independent, motivated and self-starters since there is no one enforcing what is due when. Student must be able to set their own schedules and stick to them. Students need to be able to manage the flexibility of an online course.

Doing Everything at Once

Its generally difficult to be successful in a course when you only log in once every week or two.

First, most students learn best when they have an opportunity to learn smaller amounts of material and then have a chance to reflect on it before attempting to learn more.

Additionally, many instructors require regular participation in online discussion. Not only does this discussion help student understand new concepts, in some cases grade points are awarded for regular class participation. Your grade can suffer in many ways if you only log in once every week or two.