Amy Kirwan, a recent graduate of Phoenix University, recently sat down with me to speak about her day-to-day life as an online college student. As a working professional, she found the online environment a great fit for her lifestyle. Working nine to five, Amy would check in with her online school a few times a day to stay in touch and check out the status of her group projects so that if her online classmates needed anything from her, she could take care of it right away.
For the most part, though, the daily life of an online college student is shaped by the off-line life of that student: you can participate in the online classroom environment without disturbing your work schedule. You read for your classes on your own time, and conduct research when you can. At night, students spend several hours at the computer.
When you're on the computer at night, you can interact with your classmates. Online colleges try to arrange classes so that people in the same time zone are taking classes together. Therefore, when you're working, the people in your classes tend to be working as well. In addition to free-form interactions with your classmates via the message boards, you will be required to post written answers to discussion questions about your readings. These written responses take the form of essays. In addition to providing your own answers to the discussion questions, you will be responsible for reading and responding to those responses posted by your classmates.
Phoenix University requires its students to actively participate five out of seven days a week. If the school week begins on a Monday, you will probably do the required reading on Monday and Tuesday and post your responses to discussion questions by Wednesday.
In addition to the substantive responses to your classmate's discussion question essays, you will interact with your online classmates by participating in group papers and group presentations. One example of a group project is the creation of a new business, where teammates work together to craft a mission statement, a business plan, as well as plans for how the company would be marketed.
Depending on the course you take, you might also be responsible for writing an individual paper each week, in addition to the work you are responsible for in your team project. Each week, you will receive an assessment from your online professor, which will include results on papers and tests as well as commentary on your online posts as well as an overview of your progress in the course.
Take a look at more industry related articles by Elizabeth Saas at CareersandEducation.com . Elizabeth Saas is a frequent contributor with articles pertaining to using Distance Learning and Career Advice.