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Online Degrees

Part of Western Governors University

January 23, 2020

Student Success

5 questions to ask about online class schedules.

Online class schedule

Not all online degree programs are created equal! Different online degree programs will have their own requirements for class schedules and how everything will work. It’s important that you understand what your personal schedule will allow before you get started in any kind of college coursework, especially online degree programs. Ask yourself these questions to help you consider what kind of online class schedule will work best for you.

  1. Do I have to log in at a certain time for a lecture? Some online degree programs will require that you log in and watch a live or recorded lecture with other classmates at a certain time. Class may be during the day or in the evenings, and you are expected to log-in and watch at that exact time. Some online class schedules mean you use a webcam to watch a professor, and participate in discussions over your webcam during the class time. This will mean you’ll need to make sure your schedule is clear at that time of the day, and that you can fully participate over the camera or to watch and take notes at that time. WGU’s class schedule: WGU degrees don’t require you to log in and participate in lectures or class discussions at certain times, with a few exceptions. For most of our degree programs there are no assigned times or online classroom situations that you are expected to participate in, thanks to competency-based education.
  2. Do I have to log in for class discussions at specific times? Certain online degree programs won’t require you to watch a lecture or webcam in to a classroom, but they do require you to be online at a certain time to participate in online discussions at the same time as classmates. This kind of class schedule is a bit more flexible because you don’t have to necessarily be on camera or watching, but you do have to be involved with your classmates at specific times. WGU’s class schedule: WGU doesn’t require students to log in and participate in discussions at specific times, rather we encourage students to contact faculty or cohorts if they have questions and want to connect. Program Mentors schedule regular check-ins with WGU students to ensure their questions are getting answered, but those are made on your schedule.
  3. Do I have due-dates for assignments? Some online class schedules are more flexible with when you do the work, but still have due-dates for each assignment or quiz. Assignments will become available and you have certain time frames to work on them before they’re due, and the rest of the assignments often won’t be available until later. You progress through the course on a schedule. For some students these deadlines are very helpful, but others find them annoying! WGU’s class schedule: At WGU, we don’t have deadlines for assignments. This means that you can go through your course as quickly as you can master the material. You can take more time on areas that are more difficult, and go faster through areas that you understand well. This helps you take more control of your education and your class schedule.
  4. Do I have to participate in discussions by a deadline? Some online schools have discussion boards that require you to ask questions and respond to questions with your classmates by certain dates. This is a way many institutions create opportunities for class discussions in an online environment. WGU’s class schedule: WGU doesn’t require this kind of discussion; instead we want you to work with faculty or other students when you want or need to, not because you are required to.
  5. Do I have to give presentations to faculty on a certain day? Many online degree programs will require you to connect with faculty to present final projects or presentations on a certain day. You’ll be required to film yourself or do a live webcam chat with the faculty in order to present your thesis or project. WGU’s class schedule: That isn’t the case at WGU. We have capstone projects that do require you to report about your activities, but in a way that works for you. All of our degree programs are focused on real-world experience, so your capstone project is focused on doing things in the field that will help you be better qualified to work. 

At WGU, our online class schedules are designed with busy, working adults in mind. You are in charge of your coursework and learning, there are no times you’re expected to sign in and no due-dates for assignments. You’re in the driver’s seat and can work at a pace that works for your life. Many students agree that this kind of flexible online schedule is ideal for their education. 

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