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Online Classes (Feedback)


Merched Figan
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I'm planning to get my undergraduate degree out of the way ASAP, which means I'm also choosing to take classes over the summer. I'm planning on taking classes (including gen. ed. requirements) through a local community college (CCAC) this summer and am also currently applying to local schools to enter this coming fall. I believe I'm a good candidate for online classes, because I'm a visual learner. Lectures/oral instructions aren't necessary for me. Though I will eventually have to sit through some lectures in order to get my degree, so then I can move/find a job in Europe (Wales is my top choice).

 

In short--has anyone had any experience taking online classes? If so, how many credits/classes do you think would be reasonable to take (and not be overkill, if you know what I mean)? I currently work part-time at a retail shop (definitely not the best job in the world) and am looking for an additional part-time job and/or a full time job. However, when I transfer to one of the local schools, I should be able to get on-campus jobs.

 

If anyone can give any feedback on online classes (whether having had experience or not), I would appreciate it.

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I love online classes. It is much more conveniant and interesting then having to sit thru a boring arse lecture. As far as how many classes and credits, only you know how much you can handle. You will have to put in as much hours doing the reading, research and assignments as you would for in-person classes.

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I've taken a few online classes, with mixed experience.

 

Some of the classes were great... mostly self-paced with quizzes taken from home, a reasonable amount of assignments and proctored (or not) exams, and instructors who really knew how to work online classes.

 

Others have been a nightmare... with instructors who wait until after the course starts to let me know there's a mandatory weekly chat session (scheduled for a time that I work, of course), who assign a lot of busywork-type assignments, and who give very rigid windows of time to take proctored exams in.

 

Overall, you can expect to take about as much time in an online class as you'd spend for a traditional classroom course... difference being that you don't waste your time with commuting or have to conform to a rigid schedule.

 

Another thing you might consider if you're looking to graduate quickly are CLEP and other forms of credity-by-exam. If you have the self-discipline to learn the material on your own and don't mind taking tests, it's a good way to get some credits out of the way.

 

I didn't realize this until I attended a lecture on the subject at a homeschooling convention, but there are some schools that will grant credit for life experience and independent study, which will let you finish your degree faster as well. I can't remember right now which ones they are, but if you're interested I'll dig up the information I have. Also, I'd recommend the book Accelerated Distance Learning if you can get a copy.

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Thank you both very much! And, Michelle, thank you also for mentioning the CLEP and the Accelerated Distance Learning. I'll have a look into those. I hope they will also increase the probability of me finding a job in Europe and enabling me to live there. If you have any more insight to offer, it is welcome and encouraged.

 

Thanks again to both of you for your feedback.

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I did the community college thing, it's a good option for your general ed since you get more individualized attention and it's cheaper. When you get into specialization classes it can be a little rough if there's not alot of variety in your field. Online classes can be good or bad, just like Michelle said. I have alot of friends who have taken then with mixed results as well. I was considering taking some this semester, because I wanted to move to Florida, and the counselors i talked to said generally people can only take one or two online classes at a time, not a full load. For me, i think its better to actually be in the classroom interacting, but i need all three types to learn. I have to see it, hear it, and do it. You have easier access to the professor for questions as well. There is a cool website ratemyprofessor.com you should check out. There are alot of schools and teachers listed and students go and rate them. Where are you from? There might be some decent schools in your state. What do you want to study?

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For me, i think its better to actually be in the classroom interacting, but i need all three types to learn. I have to see it, hear it, and do it.

 

I'm different, lectures are often useless to me. But, if I needed something explained to me, I'd ask--probably the most effective means (in terms of asking my specific question/s) of that would be through sending an e-mail. I believe I'm partially this way because I'm a visual learner as well as because I have Asperger's Syndrome. From what I know it's not uncommon for lectures/oral instructions to be unnecessary for Aspies.

 

There is a cool website ratemyprofessor.com you should check out.

 

That sounds familiar. I'll check it out some time.

 

Where are you from? There might be some decent schools in your state.

 

I'm from Pittsburgh, Pennsyvania. I attended Sweet Briar College (in Virginia) for a year and withdrew last summer for a variety of reasons. I was going to transfer to University of Wales, Aberystwyth---I got accepted there and at the other schools in Wales I applied to--I really worked to plan/achieve that, but going there to study for my undergraduate failed due to a nasty situation with my parents (who verbally/emotionally abuse me) decided to prevent me from going there, as opposed to helping finance me as I was originally under the impression of.

 

I want to live in Wales (or most any other European country, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand). Wales is my number one choice to live though. I've also been to Canada, and parts of England (Bristol and the Heathrow airport in London). I'm an expatriate and I despise living in the states for endless reasons (no offense to anyone who feels otherwise). I know people in Wales and even have a "surrogate" family that lives there who (unlike my parents) support me, accept me for who I am, don't impose anything on me, don't rush my life, look at my quirks/differences in a positive way etc. When I was in Wales last summer, for the first time in my life (ever) I felt that I fit in, was able to do things/express myself and not be criticized. I found the Welsh culture to be very peaceful, open-minded, accepting of all kinds of diversities (the Welsh being somewhat of minorities themselves), creative, relaxed, non-materialistic, and so much more.

 

What do you want to study?

 

For years I've wanted to study fine art, but I believe I changed my mind because from past class experiences, I've found the teachers/assignments to turn out to be restricting, despite art being about self-expression (among other free-spirited aspects). I'd rather do my art on my terms and my way--not at all to say I'm not open to other ideas, but to be graded (I'm against grading systems to begin with, but that's a whole other story ) makes it a "cookie-cutting" task, so to speak. In other words, it takes the joy out of it.

 

I've had some work experience working in a library (when I went to Sweet Briar) and I believe I'm a natural for that kind of work (I have an introverted personality, it involves doing tasks I actually enjoy but also come naturally to me, it's visual learner-friendly, etc.).

 

As well, my parents have stated--in the last face off I had with them--- "how critical it is to know what I want to study" (and, of course, that they know about it).  Otherwise, if I keep to myself, apparently, I'm (by the lawyer's label and definition) "being dishonest".  To me, first of all, that's misusage of a word, second of all, look who's talking (if you know what I

mean). By the way, when I say the lawyer, I'm referring to my dad (that's what he is and he is exactly the negative stereotype and then some--very right wing, materialistic, chauvanist, anti-Aspie, anti-vegan, anti-unconventionality, confrontational, conservatively pro-America, degrades Wales/implies that it's "less civilized"--when he's never been there, etc.).

 

With all of these factors, I'm feeling unsure right now just what exactly I want--besides getting out of the states ASAP. As well, (many thanks to Michelle for bringing these to my attention) I want to look into CLEP and Acclerated Distance Learning to see if I could still (with an undergraduate degree from them) be able to find a job overseas and live there. I'd like to discuss those matters with someone/some people (other than my parents) who are unbiased and trustworthy. I'd presume my pursuing something other than mainstream undergraduate studies will give them something additional to degrade me about. It's my life and I don't believe it's fair to impose what they would choose on what I would choose. I'm keen on eventually getting a Master's degree and maybe a PhD. If I can get a job overseas, as long as it won't be a job that contradicts my (vegan) principles and will give me enough to support myself (by being able to buy my only necessities--food and vitamins and hygienics whenever I need them). I'd like to live as simple a life as possible. Luxuries aren't necessary for me.

 

Geez, I feel like I've been telling my life story! In short, I hope none of what I said came off as offensive nor do I hope that anything I've said sounded victimizing on my part---neither of those were my intentions. I'll make a separate post or two about the (hypothetical) colleges--some of which I've already applied to--as well as my possible career ideas.

 

Thank you for your feedback. And, once again, I hope you haven't taken any offense to anything I've said.

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hey, overall you just have to do what you think is right for you.

 

I can relate to your college/parents experience. Long complicated story, but I had my heart set on staying in Africa and it didn't happen. I guess now that I'm older, I can understand their reasons, but it still sucks. Is there no way you can make the whales thing happen? With loans or scholarships or something? Or maybe you can go through an american school and study abroad?

 

P.s. if you are gonna take Clep tests make sure you study your ass off, i bombed two of them.

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hey, overall you just have to do what you think is right for you.

 

Thanks, CL.

 

Is there no way you can make the whales thing happen?

 

I'm not sure, the (reliable) people I'm talking to aren't that experienced with expatriatism. They could be just saying to rely on the finances for what I can get (educationally speaking) for now, which means relying on the miser---as supportive as most of those people are they could be saying that because that is the only potential way that they know of. I found this website/forum that I joined (for expatriates) and there's a coach who knows the ins and outs for people leaving and entering the states. Hopefully she can answer more of my inquiries (finding a job, obtaining a visa/work permit, supporting myself, etc.).

 

With loans or scholarships or something?
I tried Sallie Mae and possibly could have gotten something from them, but I was in need of someone honest/unbiased to really sit down with me and explain things in laymen's terms. I remember reading that they gave grants to international students (studying in or out of the states--including as a full-time undergrad).

 

P.s. if you are gonna take Clep tests make sure you study your ass off, i bombed two of them.

 

I hope they can make special accomodations (eg. extended time) such as what I was granted when I took my ACTs.

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