What Are Online Courses Like? 4 Advantages of Online Classes

Apr 19, 2016   |   General
What is it like to study online?
A report by the Babson Survey Research Group in February 2015 indicated that 70.7% of all currently active, degree-granting institutions offer the option to study online.1 What are online courses like and what can students expect when trying out web-based alternatives compared to traditional classroom-based learning? Below we break down some of the advantages of online classes, as well as how students' experiences may differ from courses attended on a traditional campus.

Flexible, Self-Directed Coursework

One possible advantage of online classes for many students is the flexibility they provide, both in when and where you work. Unlike taking courses on a traditional campus, students aren't required to be in a physical classroom at specific times throughout the day, which may help you more easily fit classes into your busy schedule. Student Ricky Banks felt that the flexible, self-directed nature of his online coursework at CTU made it easier to pursue his degree on his own time while traveling for work.

Contribute to Class Discussions From Anywhere

Because students enrolled in online courses don't necessarily meet face-to-face with their instructors or peers, forums and message boards are often used for class discussions. While certain courses may require students to log into a virtual classroom at specific times for lectures or interactive class sessions, you typically have a variety of options for how and when to respond to discussion prompts, readings, and other assignments. Many programs also feature some kind of live-chat feature during certain times to enable students and instructors to talk in a real-time virtual environment.2

Accessibility of Course Materials

Rather than having to purchase course materials from the campus bookstore, many online programs provide an ongoing archive on the class website. Depending on the program, you may be able to access past lectures, assignments, worksheets and readings, and instructor feedback online, making it easy to keep up with your progress from wherever you are at the time. This can be especially useful for those who plan to fit schoolwork into an already busy schedule and won't always be working on their assignments at home.

Personally Tailored Learning

To further provide for online students CTU implemented Intellipath&trade, adaptive learning technology, to help working professionals and students with varying levels of prior experience make the most of their studying time. Online learning programs powered by adaptive learning technology provide individualized course experiences by tailoring lessons and materials to each student's unique strengths and knowledge base. This helps ensure students aren't spending extra time covering information they already know, and it can be a great advantage for those who need to get through course materials as quickly and efficiently as possible in order to maintain a good work-life-school balance.

Thinking about returning to school? Learn more about our online degree programs. Students at CTU can attend class online, at a campus in Colorado Springs or Aurora, or a blend of both.


The ability to reduce time in school and/or reduce tuition depends on the number of Fast Track™ courses successfully passed. Fast Track™ program credits are unlikely to transfer. Not all programs are eligible for possible 30% reduction in time and money.

1Babson Survey Research Group, "Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the United States" (February 2015), on the Internet at http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/gradelevel.pdf (visited March 8, 2016).
2Colorado Technical University, "Online Degree Programs" on the internet at https://www.coloradotech.edu/online-degree-programs (visited February 8, 2016).

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