What Should I expect in an Online Course?

Professors may use a variety of ways to format the online course by using Power Point presentations, links to short videos to watch, recorded lectures, study questions for comprehending assigned textbooks, etc.

  • Assignments might include links to web sites where a multimedia format is used.  Assignments might involve blogs, wikis, or self/peer assessments.
  • Weekly threaded discussions through Blackboard Learning Systems take the place of a regular classroom discussion.  A student can expect to make several discussion board posts throughout the week.  These posts will include their own responses to questions as well as comments on other classmate’s posts.  This online conversation can become a very rich environment for the sharing of thoughts and ideas and counts toward student participation.
  • Reading assignments are about the same for an online course as they are for a regular classroom.  Term papers and other assignments are uploaded electronically.
  • The number of exams for a regular classroom is usually the same number given for an online course.  Professors may opt to use a written assignment rather than an exam for online courses.
  • Online courses take about the same amount of time as a regular course which meets in the classroom.  For every one hour in the classroom, there is an additional two hours for course work and preparation.  Therefore, a three hour traditional course requires at least nine hours of time per week (this includes class time).  You can expect the same for an online course.  These nine hours (or more) will include a lot of reading such as textbooks, computer files, taking notes, answering study questions, responding to other students, preparing reports and studying for exams.  You will need to be aware of assignments that are time sensitive and work towards that deadline.
  • Online courses are not easier or shorter than regular classroom courses.  Some students taking an online course for the first time find it more challenging than what they expected. A student must be a self-motivator and keep up with the demands of assignments, posts, and deadlines.  It is important to note that contact with a professor or students in the course may not happen on a daily basis.   The variety of learning tools used in an online course can make for a very interesting learning experience compared to a traditional classroom.  Some students have found theological discussions online with the professor and other students to be more frequent and more in-depth than in a traditional classroom.

*Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond seeks to be in compliance with all state and federal regulations governing online education as well as meeting ATS accreditation requirements for online courses.