Most online students choose to study through this format because they have work and family responsibilities they must meet. They know that studying through an online college is the only way they can improve their lives without giving up what is important to them. Because all online learners are not the same, colleges employ different types of online courses: synchronous and asynchronous. Each type is suited to a specific type of learner, so it is important to find the one that best meets your learning and time needs.
Synchronous online courses require real-time interactions between the students and the professor. In this type of course, the professor may use a web cam to stream lectures live and require that students participate in online chat during specified times of the day. This learning format allows students to get much more interaction with professors and classmates and provides an experience that is closely related to that of regular classes. Students who need more structure and perform better within strict parameters will do better with synchronous learning. It is important to remember, however, that this learning format has many of the same time demands as those of a traditional class. As such, they may be problematic for students who have full-time jobs and other set obligations that cannot be put off.
Asynchronous learning classes provide busy students with a much greater level of flexibility. These classes are much more popular among students who work regular jobs and/or have families they must take care of. In an asynchronous class, the students rarely interact with instructors. Instead, they work at their own pace, only striving to meet deadlines for tests and completion. Lectures, slides, notes, and other content is available around the clock, allowing students to review it on their own schedule and to re-read any troubling parts of the coursework. This method of learning is the best for students who need the maximum level of flexibility and who are strong at independent learning.
The type of online learning you choose will depend upon your personal needs and preferences. Regardless of which type you participate in, you will find that there are many benefits to online learning that are not to be found in a traditional classroom.