This fall I transferred into an online program to complete my Bachelor’s degree. Previously, I had taken online courses but had never been enrolled in a completely online program. Therefore, I was unaware of what was in-store for me during my first semester, and understandably you’re probably in the same boat if you’re considering an online program.
Previously, my online courses required minimal interaction with my teacher and the other students. Most of the assignments were available starting at the beginning of the semester, so I was free to complete them at my own pace, as long as I submitted them before the due date. Obviously, the assignments were completed online, but one of the courses required me to go to campus to take exams.
I’m currently enrolled in Temple University’s Online Bachelor of Business Administration (OBBA) program. Therefore, I’m taking some courses within the OBBA program that are required for my major, and some GenEds that aren’t within the program. Regardless, all of my courses are completely online and I never need to visit Temple’s campus (I even met with my advisor over a video call). Despite being run completely online, my courses still have many aspects similar to those of traditional courses.
The following are the repeating assignments that I’ve had throughout my first semester in Temple’s Online Bachelor of Business Administration program:
- Weekly meetings: Each 3-credit OBBA course meets once a week for two hours in the evening using WebEx. This is similar to a traditional classroom setting in the sense that students are expected to attend for the entirety of class, and the professor conducts class as they might in-person. Students can send private chats to the professor, “raise their hand” using a hand emoji, and answer yes-or-no questions with a green checkmark or red “X”. (You can see these buttons in the screenshot above.) Students are encouraged to participate, and sometimes “break-out sessions” are utilized.
Break-out sessions allow the teacher to split the class up into groups to facilitate more personalized discussions. The teacher can check in on the groups during the break-out, and students can “raise their hand” to call over the teacher.
Soon after the meeting, a recording of the class is available online for future reference. (My GenEd courses do not have scheduled weekly meetings.)
- Recorded lectures: My OBBA courses have recorded lectures that should be watched each week, and can be watched whenever it’s convenient for the student. They’re always available, which is nice when it comes time to study for exams and finals. Sometimes the lecturer in the recording is your professor, and sometimes it’s someone else from the department. (My GenEd courses use a different method for lectures.)
- Online assessments: All of my OBBA classes have exams and quizzes that are completed online. For most, quizzes can be taken on your own time without any requirements. However, when it comes to exams, some classes require you to record yourself and your screen while taking the test, and others actually use an outside company like Examity. Examity provides a proctor who checks that your desk is cleared, and then watches you and your screen throughout the test. Exams and quizzes often have about a three-day window in which they must be taken.
- Voice-blogs: My GenEd courses use VoiceThread for their weekly lectures and participation. VoiceThread enables users to upload video or text comments, and others to reply. Each week, the professor uploads a recording of him/herself giving a lecture which can be viewed starting whenever the teacher makes it available. They also upload a separate VoiceThread with a prompt that students are expected to reply to using their webcam. Students are often required to reply to others as well.
- Discussion boards: Most of my classes (regardless of whether or not they’re in the OBBA program) utilize discussion boards, in which students reply to a question through writing. The required length varies depending on the class, but most require students to reply to each other in addition to the original question.
- Misc. assignments: All of my online classes also have written papers and reading that must be completed, similar to traditional classes; the papers must be submitted through BlackBoard.
Most of my assignments have windows during which they are available, rather than being available at the start of the semester like some of the assignments in my previous online courses.
I hope I was able to clarify what an online program entails; I’m happy to answer any questions you may have- just comment them below!
To see what I love about my online program, read this post!
– Sarah C.