Well, my first semester back at school has come and gone. I must admit, I was overwhelmed at first. Shaking off the cobwebs from the back of my brain was quite a task. It’s amazing how much you ‘forget’.
It’s been 3 years since my last ‘formal’ class. I made an attempt at continuing my education towards my BSN, but due to time, money and just plain lack of interest, I bowed out.
Fast-forward three years and here we are again. This time around I had the time and the motivation.
With my previous educational history luck would have it I only have to take a handful of classes to attain my BSN, so that in itself was motivating enough.
So my first semester was this summer. The last time I took summer classes was in nursing school, so I must say I was a tad bummed that my summer would be spent in school – but it was a needed sacrifice to get things done. My summer semester consisted of online classes. Also something I was leery about. Leery, but not unfamiliar territory. The last time I was in school was also taking online classes.
I had forgotten I much I enjoyed the freedom and flexibility of online learning. It affords you a great amount of ‘wiggle room’ in regards to getting things done.
Everything remains the same as ‘real-time’ live classes except for the part where you have to physically show up for class. All you ‘classes’ come in the form of assignments and tasks which are all time-sensitive.
Most classes give you a syllabus that will outline what is due, when its due. Each assignment and task fits the needs of the class and it’s goals. Every assignment can or cannot build on the previous assignment. It is pseudo-cumulative, meaning that what you learned from the assignments in the beginning of the semester will have applications that will contribute to the completion of the class assignments at the end of the semester.
Here is my breakdown of deciding between the formal and online classes:
- You work at your own pace (great for the busy schedule lifestyle)
- Can do school work ANYWHERE that allows computer/internet access (Laptops)
- Everything is planned out ahead of time, so you know what needs done and when it needs done.
- Don’t have to worry about sitting in a class for 45min up to 4 hrs!
- Most of the time you don’t have to buy books – everything is online access
- You can work ahead, allowing extra time when you need it.
- Have to have a good, sound, basic knowledge of computers and the internet (otherwise you struggle)
- The immediacy of problem solving is not there – if you have a question it’s done by email
- Waiting for responses can be time consuming (although chat clients can help)
- At the mercy of your computer and the internet (slow computers/connections can be tough)
- It is a tad more expensive per credit
- No human to human interaction
- Social aspect of school is not there.
The great thing about my first semester was I worked hard, and busted my butt in the beginning of the summer. I worked as far ahead as I could – and it paid off tremendously. I finished my semester almost a full month ahead of schedule (yes I busted my A@S).
So instead of being in school, finishing the summer semester with only a week break until fall semester starts back up – I have over a month break! SHHWEEET!
If anything else, the long break is worth any drawbacks to taking online classes. Case in point, my wife is taking summer classes as well and she’s in class all the way up to the day we leave for vacation!
Ever take online classes? I’d love to hear your thoughts.