Copyright
 

Online College Courses and Classes: Options and Requirements

Nowadays, the vast majority of colleges and universities offer courses online. Continue reading to learn more about online course options, as well as requirements.

View popular schools

Overview of Online College Course Options

While many colleges and universities offer full online programs that culminate in certificates or degrees, others may offer individual online courses. Many schools offer a combination of the two, with some degree programs available fully online and other degree programs available through on-campus and distance learning, giving students options to learn on a schedule that fits their lives. Course content for online studies typically mirrors that found in on-campus classes.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Sciences
  • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

How Online Courses Work

Colleges and universities that offer full programs and individual classes online typically deliver the class materials to students electronically. Students may receive lectures in text form via email, while others log in to a secure site to view professors deliver streaming lectures. Blackboard is a common electronic interface for transmitting course materials as well. Students log in to receive lessons and submit completed assignments for review. There are also opportunities for students to interact with fellow learners through email, discussion lists, chat rooms and discussion forums.

Scheduling

Most online courses and classes are semester- or trimester-based, in keeping with on-campus classes. Students may be able to view lessons and turn in assignments at their convenience, though it's not always the case. An instructor might require one or two class participation activities online at a set time, like a group chat, or they may have set assignment due dates. Exams are usually mailed to the student. Students arrange for a proctor to monitor the exam, which is then mailed back to the professor for scoring by a pre-set date.

Online college students may have the option of choosing a program of individual study or an alternative, known as cohort study. In cohort study, all students beginning a degree program at the same time move through the courses together.

Technology Requirements

Technology requirements vary by program, but generally include a reliable computer and Internet access, at the very least. Some schools offer an introductory class to help new online learners. Many schools offer tech help regarding their online classes, and most have basic help desk support available to distance learners experiencing trouble with online course interfaces or hardware. In addition, some programs and courses may require students to purchase special software and/or hardware.

Residency Requirements

Most online classes can be completed virtually. Some programs, most likely those taught at the graduate level, do have a residency requirement for online students. This may be anything from a single week spent meeting and working with classmates and professors to several weekend meetings throughout the semester.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • BA: Criminal Justice
    • BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
    • BA: Liberal Studies
    • BA: Psychology
    • BA: Psychology - General
    • BS: Computer Science
    • AA: Criminal Justice
    • AA: Liberal Arts
    • AA: Business Administration
    • AA: Information Technology
    • AA: Cybersecurity

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • MA in Communication
    • Master of Liberal Arts
    • MA in Science Writing
    • MS in Applied Economics
    • MS in Geographic Information Systems
    • MS in Bioinformatics

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Arts - Communication and Media Studies
    • Master of Education - Early Childhood Education
    • Master of Education - Middle Grades
    • Master of Science - Entrepreneurship
    • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership
    • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Communication Management
    • Bachelor of Science - Psychology
    • Bachelor in Business Adminstration
    • Bachelor in Business Adminstration - Accounting
    • Bachelor in Business Adminstration - Financial Economics
    • Bachelor in Business Adminstration - Human Resource Management
    • Bachelor in Business Adminstration - Marketing
    • Associate of Arts - Liberal Studies
    • Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies - Early Childhood Education
    • Education Specialist - Early Childhood Education
    • Education Specialist - Middle Grade Education
    • Education Specialist - Special Education
    • Post Graduate Certificate - Communication Management
    • Post Graduate Certificate - Finance
    • Post Graduate Certificate - Health Care Management

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path, Executive Leader Specialization
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice
    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path
    • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
    • Master of Science in Legal Studies
    • MS in Psychology
    • MBA
    • Master of Public Health
    • MBA - Human Resources
    • BS in Liberal Studies
    • BS in Business Administration
    • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Investment Career Focus Area
    • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
    • BS in Nutrition Science
    • BSFIN in Accelerated MS Finance
    • AAS in Business Administration - Business
    • AAS in Legal Support and Services
    • AAS in Business Administration
    • AAS in Business Administration - Food & Hotel Management
    • AAS in Business Admin-Office Management
    • AAS in Criminal Justice
    • Medical Office Administration Certificate
    • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
    • Graduate Certificate in Addictions
    • Graduate Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
    • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate
    • Pathway to Paralegal Postbaccalaureate Certificate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Doctor of Business Administration - Management
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Special Education
    • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Cognition and Instruction
    • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Industrial and Organizational Psychology
    • M.S. Psychology with an Emphasis in Gerontology
    • M.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Human Factors
    • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
    • MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
    • MS in Psychology: General Psychology
    • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
    • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
    • BS in Psychology
    • B.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance and Sports Psychology
    • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
    • BS in Early Childhood
    • BS in Elementary Education / Special Education (Dual Major)

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN - FNP)
    • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Administration
    • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Educaiton
    • RN to BSN

    What is your highest level of education completed?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?