What is Homework Like for an Online School?

If you've signed up for an online course with the idea that you can save time on homework, you could be in for some disappointment! Home work at an online school is not very different from that given in traditional colleges. All too often, students are disappointed to find that online degrees do have their share of 'homework' and 'assignments'.

In fact, since most of the learning is personal and self-paced, a good online program from an accredited school would require more homework than the average traditional course. Depending on your program, the school and your personal pace of working, you can expect to spend anywhere between 15 and 35 hours on coursework. Also visit CampusLife.com com for additional resources to help the college student manage their studies.

Just like a traditional degree, assignments typically include case studies, multimedia presentations, paper presentations and reading assignments, which are usually followed up with discussions in the forum.

How Will I Find Out The Homework For The Week?
Check out the assignments on the class calendar and schedule, along with details of when it will have to be handed in. Details on how you must hand it in are also usually posted online.

How Do I Send In The Homework And Assignments?
Assignments can be sent in by email as an attachment. But do ensure that you send them along with a read receipt, so you'll know when they reach your instructor. In some cases, the format of the assignment may require you to send it in by the regular postal system. Here too, ensure that you ask for a delivery confirmation.

Some online programs allow you to submit homework/assignments on the public forum, while other websites have a standard template which allows you to submit it directly to the server, from where it can be accessed by your instructor.

What If I Need Clarifications?
If you need clarifications, your instructor is always available via mail, fax or telephone. You can also post your queries on the public forum, allowing your peers to clarify the issue. Posting your query on the public forum is probably a better idea as you will also be helping others with similar issues. Your instructor will also be saved the trouble of having to repeat the same thing over and over to other students with the same doubt!

What If I Cannot Meet The Deadline?
Generally, online courses take into account the pressures of its students' lifestyle. Homework and assignments don't come with unrealistic deadlines. If you dedicate a certain number of hours everyday towards your course, meeting deadlines should not really be a problem.  Some additional information regarding balancing homework with a professional career or a family life, please read Coordinating Going Back to School with a Job or Family for the working student.

However, it is not ok to miss deadlines; even if you do, contact your instructor with reasons and work out a deadline that you can honor. You may have to provide documentation supporting your need for an extension or exception. Unforeseen circumstances, in the form of natural disasters, illnesses and other emergencies are usually considered.

Less often, technical difficulties are accepted as a reason for a missed deadline. If you can provide documented proof, you may be considered eligible for an extension. However, it's always a better idea to be prepared for the eventuality of a system breakdown and have other alternatives in place.

Is Homework On An Online Course Easier?
Unfortunately, no! But homework here is definitely a different experience from that on traditional courses. For one thing, the deadlines are spaced so as to give you the freedom to work at your own pace. Two, you have more freedom, which eventually means more initiative and responsibility on your part. Three, delivering homework on an online course will require you to be adept with the computer. For instance, to present a paper, you may have to use different programs like MS Office Word, MS Office PowerPoint or Adobe.

At the end of the day, homework on an online course is neither easier nor more difficult than on a traditional course. It's just different.

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