What is it Like to Learn Online?

LSU student browsing on Moodle site

In today’s world, balancing work, family, and personal commitments can be a constant challenge. With all this to juggle, pursuing higher education may seem like an unattainable dream. However, online learning can provide a convenient alternative to help you reach your goals. Whether you're a working professional seeking career-relevant courses or a recent graduate seeking to bolster your resume, LSU Online & Continuing Education (LSU OCE) offers access to flexible online programs that are structured to help you succeed.

We understand that online degrees and certificates may be new to many learners. If you are unfamiliar with virtual learning (also called distance learning) or just want a refresher, we answered some frequently asked questions (FAQs) to provide you with essential insights.

Online Learning FAQs:

1. What are classes like?

Through LSU Online & Continuing Education, students enrolled in online courses can access course materials at their preferred time and pace. While this flexibility empowers students to balance their education with work, family, and other commitments, online programs also provide a structured and streamlined path to successful completion.

Moodle, our online Learning Management System (LMS), serves as a central hub for students. It provides a user-friendly interface to access course materials, submit assignments, participate in discussions, and engage with instructors and fellow learners. Courses are organized into units of learning called modules. Each module contains lectures, learning activities, discussions, and assessments designed to optimize the online learning experience.

For each online program, course designers create a curriculum that aligns with the course outcomes while fostering relevant and meaningful learning experiences. Throughout the course, students will progress from simple to complex concepts, practicing and applying knowledge through discussions, tasks, and assessments.

2. When do I attend?

One of the most valuable advantages of online learning is its flexibility. We provide access to asynchronous programs, allowing you to access course materials and complete assignments at your preferred time and pace. This flexibility generally reduces the need to adhere to rigid schedules. However, some online courses may also include synchronous elements, such as live virtual lectures or group discussions, which can further enhance the interactive and collaborative aspects of learning. Always check your course materials and ask your instructors to ensure you have the most accurate information about each class you enroll in.

3. How do I interact with other students?

Although online learning may seem solitary, LSU Online & Continuing Education fosters a vibrant community of learners. Through discussion forums, virtual group projects, and other collaborative activities, you'll have many opportunities to interact with your classmates. Engaging in these interactions broadens your perspectives and provides valuable networking opportunities that can extend beyond the virtual classroom.

4. What is the time expectation?

The time commitment required for online learning varies depending on the course, your learning style, and prior knowledge of the subject. We understand the diverse needs of our students and design programs to accommodate busy schedules. As a general guideline, you should expect to dedicate a minimum 2-5 hours per week for professional development courses. This time includes studying course materials, participating in discussions, completing assignments, and reviewing instructor feedback. Though this may sound challenging, remember— you are often in charge of structuring your learning time in the course, so you can tailor it to work around your schedule.

5. What should I know before enrolling?

Before beginning your online learning journey, assess your readiness and set realistic expectations. Consider the following aspects:

  • Online learning requires discipline and time management skills to balance your commitments successfully.
  • You should have access to a reliable internet connection and a computer or device that meets the technical specifications outlined by each program. You can find specific requirements through course materials or by contacting an Enrollment Coach.
  • Reflect on your learning style and assess if online learning aligns with your strengths and preferences.
  • Building a support system from family, friends, or colleagues who can provide encouragement and understanding is one of the most important factors for success, and support should be established as early as possible. However, we know that every learner’s circumstance is unique. That’s why we also offer access to a dedicated student support team who will help guide you throughout your educational journey.

Additionally, each online program may have specific prerequisites you need to meet. To ensure a successful application or course enrollment, take the time to understand the requirements of your program and the deadlines for withdrawing from classes.

LSU OCE Makes Learning Online Simpler

With adequate guidance, taking advantage of online learning is simple. Explore our extensive range of online certificates and courses to find the one that perfectly aligns with your goals and aspirations. If you need assistance, you can contact an Enrollment Coach for support at answers@outreach.lsu.edu or call 833-280-5634. Start your online learning journey with LSU Online & Continuing Education today!


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