Do You Have Enough Time to Take an Online College Course?
“I am about to sign up for your Western Civilization I Course,” writes a student in Wisconsin named Helga, “but before I do, can you give me a better idea of what kind of time commitment I am making? I work a full-time job already and I don’t want to take on more than I can handle.”
Happy to help. Here are some guidelines to help you decide how much time you will need to stay on top of your coursework . . .
- Apply the “rule of 1.5.” That means that for every credit hour you earn in a course, you should expect to study for about 1.5 hours a week. So if you are taking a college course online like Western Civilization I that is earning 3 credit hours, your basic time commitment should be about 4.5 hours a week.
- Don’t forget the flexibility of online coursework. Although you are working full-time and might have a difficult time finding those 4.5 hours on weekdays, don’t forget that you can still “go to class” on weekends, or even in the early morning before you leave home.
- Remember that online coursework is portable too. If you have a laptop, you can “go to class” from any location where you have Internet access – an empty conference room at work, a public library, a restaurant or coffee bar. That option to take your classroom with you anywhere can make it easier to fit your classroom work around your work schedule.
- You can pursue your course in small time blocks too. Regular college courses often require students to sit in classrooms for 90 minutes or even two hours. Online courses at StraighterLine don’t work like that. You can log on for brief periods of time – 20 or 30 minutes – then log off and pick up again later where you left off.
So the bottom line is . . .
Taking an online course represents a serious time commitment. But thanks to the flexibility that online learning offers, most students are able to fit their classwork around work, parenting, and other responsibilities.