An Online-Only Student’s Take on Online School

Becca Henderson, Staff Reporter

About 1,000 IUS students each semester learn strictly online. I am part of that statistic. 

After deciding to take a third and final try at college, I enrolled at Jefferson Community and Technical College to take my prerequisites for one-third of the cost than what I would pay at a four-year university—including IUS. I earned my associate degree and moved on to IUS. 


I am one year away from graduation, and I have taken all online courses since May of 2019. I love the online option. It lets me study in my own setting. I resumed my educational journey about a year and a half before COVID-19 invaded our lives. When I transferred to IUS, I genuinely thought there would be a time that I would have to have an in-person course. But the pandemic hit and everything went virtual. As thousands of Americans died, and the rest of us battled mentally, emotionally, and physically to stay alive, something unexpected happened. I realized that there are quite a few things that I enjoy doing in the comfort of home. Online learning is one of them.  


Myths surround online college courses. One is that students are unable to meet with professors. It depends on the professor, but every time I have been a college student, I have not once had to bend over backwards to meet with a professor for help or advice. In fact, professors have called me outside standard business hours just to explain assignments that I didn’t understand. 


Another myth is that online-only students are lazy or disengaged. That is certainly not the case! I truly believe that people generally are social creatures and like to learn as a group. But not everyone has time for college in person. I wish I would have gone to college right after high school, lived in a dorm, and had the opportunity to have that real college experience. Unfortunately, that is not what life had in store for me. I do regret it at times, but I wouldn’t go back and change it.   


Online classes can be seen as easy and less rigorous than in-person classes. False. I think online classes are much harder. One, you must keep up with the timeline of the class. That means there’s usually no verbal reminder of upcoming homework, nor is there in-class time to start assignments. Second, online classes are difficult because they are online. Even though my professors make their presence known, there’s still the lack of face-to-face time to ask questions. Fortunately, most of my professors are aware of this and provide very detailed instructions on every assignment. That leads me to a third reason: Online courses require a great deal of time, energy, and reading. I have classes that consist of nothing but reading, note-taking, video lectures, and quizzes. Personally, I learn very well with notetaking, but everyone learns differently. 


I take nothing but online classes because I am an adult working a full-time job. It is tiring to work full-time, take care of a family, and attend in-person classes. At the beginning of each semester, I usually print out the syllabus for every course, use a separate notebook, and a different colored pen for each course. This helps keep me organized. It also gives me an idea of what days and times that I can do homework without feeling overwhelmed or overloaded throughout the week. Unfortunately, this means I spend most weekends on homework. It’s not ideal but it fits my schedule. 


Despite the differences from in-person learning, I am only a year away from finishing my bachelor’s degree. I could not have gotten this far without the online options offered by IUS.