Benefits of Taking Online Courses

Posted by Lauren Dick on August 13, 2019

Academic Success

Fall 2019 classes are just around the corner, Lions! If you’ve always wanted to take an online course but weren’t sure how it all works, we’ve got you covered. Though you may have already chosen your courses for the upcoming term, the benefits of taking online courses we’re sharing below may make you consider switching to an online section in your Fall 2019 course or taking an online Winter 2020 course!

What eLearning Services are available at York U?

At York University, there are two different kinds of online courses (eLearning) that you can take: fully online or blended. Most online courses are offered through Moodle and are easily accessible for all York U students.

Fully Online Courses

Fully online courses do not have an in-person lecture, seminar or tutorial – everything is done online. A few of the common elements involved with a fully online course include:

  • Text-based and multi-media presentations of course materials — including audio, video, and graphics;
  • Interactive assignments and progress quizzes;
  • Easy access to instructors and professors;
  • Student online discussion and chat rooms;
  • Course outlines which provide instructions on computer requirements and software access; and
  • Updated links to relevant websites.

Keep in mind that every fully online course can vary – some courses incorporate more online interactive elements through forums or group discussions, while other courses focus more on lectures and assignments. If you aren’t sure which format would suit you best, the course outline and/or course instructor can help answer your questions!

Blended Courses

On the other hand, blended courses have a mix of both online and in-person sections of the course. A few of the common elements of a blended course include:

  • In-class and online academic information (e.g. text-based/multi-media presentations of course materials including audio, video and graphics);
  • In-class and interactive assignments and quizzes;
  • Easy access to instructors and professors (e.g. in-class, by phone, by e-mail);
  • In-class and online discussions/chat rooms;
  • Course outlines that provide next steps; and
  • Updated links to relevant sites.

Each blended course could have a different structure. I’ve had one class where every lecture was online, but the tutorials were in person. My friends have also had blended courses where they met in-person for lectures every three weeks and had online lectures in between. When you’re considering an online blended course, it’s a good idea to read the syllabus and/or contact the professor to understand the structure of the course.

What are the Benefits of Taking an Online Course?

Overall, online courses offer many different benefits for students, including:

Avoiding schedule conflicts

Are two or more of your courses conflicting? One easy way to solve this problem is by taking the online section of that course or switching into an online course.

Even though online courses still post their lectures once a week, you aren’t restricted to listening to the lecture as soon as it is posted. This way, if you have another course scheduled for Thursday mornings at 11 a.m., you can wait until you get home and listen to your online lecture then.

Taking advantage of distance education

One of the best benefits of online courses is the ability to learn from anywhere in the world. Personally, I took advantage of this benefit every summer during my undergraduate degree when I went back home to Ottawa. I was able to take 3.00 or 6.00 credits online and visit with family and friends at the same time!

During the Fall or Winter terms, taking an online course or two can also help to balance your schedule. I had quite a few friends arrange their course schedule so that they could work part-time and attend their lectures from the library, on a break at work or in the comforts of home.

Gaining flexibility in your course selection

Flexibility in your course selection is a fantastic benefit to taking online courses. This is especially true if you are working full-time or are busy during the day. Instead of looking only at courses offered after 6 p.m. or on weekends, taking an online course can expand your course options.

Where Can I Find Online Courses at York U?

You can find online courses on the York Courses Web Site under the “eLearn Courses” tab. Fully online courses are marked on the York Courses Web Site with “ONLN,” while blended courses are marked as “BLEN.” You can filter to only fully online courses or blended courses in the eLearn Courses tab by selecting one or the other in the drop box on the right.

Success Tip: The Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) also has a website dedicated to eLearning, which offers an eServices Office, LA&PS Computing Labs, an eLearn Course Search and more! If you have any questions, we encourage you to look at their FAQs.

Now that we have told you our favourite benefits of online courses at York U, we hope that you take the time to look at online options that interest you. Why not consider online and/or blended courses the next time you enroll?

Are you thinking about taking online courses? Feel free to comment below or tweet us at @YorkUStudents.

Lauren Dick
Lauren Dick

Lauren Dick graduated in Spring 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Professional Writing and a Professional Certificate in Marketing. She loves to curl up with a good story and a warm cup of tea (only English Breakfast, mind you), and she hopes her blog posts will continue to encourage current and incoming students to learn more about York U and its community.

See other posts by Lauren Dick

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *