For the most part, students in online classes do the same type of work as those taking courses in a traditional classroom setting, including reading assignments, participation activities, and examinations. But because course delivery and instructional methods differ in online classes, the majority of coursework revolves around written communication and reading.

Rather than attending a class on campus, online students complete course work through an online management system, like ANGEL, Blackboard, or Moodle. Here, they might be required to work through an interactive tutorial, watch an educational video, listen to a streaming lecture, or complete a learning module. Generally, online classes also require students to complete multiple reading assignments from their textbooks or additional sources and write topical essays, or to submit thorough answers to questions about each reading assignment.

Because students in online courses do not meet in a classroom, participation must be measured through other types of work. Online instructors may ask students to connect in a designated chat room to engage in a class debate, or to submit posts on a discussion board to respond to assigned questions, comment on learning material, or provide feedback on a particular lesson. Most instructors require students to respond to a set number of questions each week for a participation grade.

Just like traditional students, online students also have to take exams and quizzes. Quizzes over learning material will most likely be assigned on a regular basis to ensure that all students are keeping up with their reading and lecture materials. These types of interactive quizzes can usually be accessed through the course’s online portal and must be completed during a set time frame. However, even though most online courses can be completed 100% online, others may require you to visit an approved testing center and take an exam under the supervision of a proctor, especially if it’s for a big test like a midterm or final examination.

All in all, the type of work that online students receive is typically much more writing-intensive than classroom-based assignments. Bu that is not always the case. In fact, many degree programs may require students to work together on group projects that are not solely based on turning in a paper. The types of assignments online students receive will vary, depending on the school and class they’re taking.


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