I am a single mom, I work full time, and I have gone to school full time since August of 2012, and will graduate December 2014. I had heard so many things about taking online college courses prior to starting that I was under the influence that it would be different. These are a few myths about taking online college courses, and I know that these are myths from personal experiences.
Online College Courses are easier than Campus Courses:
This is not true at all. The course is under the same curriculum as the campus courses, but you do not have the professor in the class explaining things to you. If you can learn well on your own, you will do well. Never think that the online course will be easier.
You never have to go to Campus:
This may be true if you are using an exclusively online school, but local colleges do have you come to campus on occasions. Some of the classes will require you to go to the campus for tests. This will not happen often, but be prepared in case this is your circumstances. There may also be courses that have to be completed online, or even a hybrid course where you have to go online and to the school.
Online Courses are completely at your own pace:
This is one of the biggest misconceptions that I had, and quite a few other people do as well. Each course has a set syllabus, and deadlines for the work that needs to be finished. Since I have begun taking online college courses I have had projects that were due each week. The tests, papers, homework, and any other projects always have precise due dates. On some occasions you can move ahead a little in the online college course, but if you miss work you will receive a zero for that.
You do not need to have a lot of computer knowledge to take online college courses:
This is just wrong to tell people. I actually have quite a bit of computer knowledge, but when I first began taking online college courses I was confused. I still have moment that I am questioning what I am supposed to do. I am not confused about the work, but how to work some of the programs that I have to use. Do research into what you will be doing. If you are going to a local school they will usually be happy to help you navigate the sites.
You do not need a webcam for online college courses:
This is actually true, but you can experience more if you do have one. There are programs and meeting sites that some of the professors will use. If you have a webcam you will be able to have face to face meetings. For some people this may not be important, but it may be beneficial to a lot of students.
You only have to check in to your online college course once or twice a week:
NO, absolutely false. The first week I was taking my online college courses I was online 6-8 hours a day, every day. I take three courses online, but each one of them goes by completely different programs. After the first week I got organized and learned each class's standards. Now that I have learned, I am still online each day checking each class. There are things that change on courses or you may have forgotten something. Either way, checking each day helps to ensure you complete all of your work. I now spend an average of four hours a day working on my online college courses. I do take weekends off!
I just have to do my work; I do not have to participate in any discussions or forums:
The classes I take require you to post on the forums or watch the lectures online. Being active in their courses is the way they track the attendance. You have to show participation in each class. Some classes will even drop you if you do not participate in the first couple of weeks, and will fail you if you do not participate after that.
I can copy work from other students, or websites if I take online college courses:
If you do, you will get caught. Most professors use plagiarism software to catch this, and it is now required by the school for them to use on each assignment. If you want to do well, do your own work
These myths are things that I heard prior to starting taking online college courses. I have shared my experience about showing these myths not to be true. I love taking online college courses, but the first week scared me. The biggest tip I can give anyone who is interested in taking online courses would be to learn time management. Use a calendar to mark your deadlines, plan time each day to work on each course, and never get behind. If you are interested in furthering your career online, do it. If you have problems, ask for help.
Tip from a single mom
Do not let anything hold you back. Get your education. I have kept myself from making excuses because I can do it. This has been a great experience, and I would not change it for the world. If you want to be a successful single parent, then go for your dreams and do not hold back. A little struggle will come with great return!