Are online classes right for you?

Technology has taken huge leaps in the academic field. New technology has enabled students to learn and earn credits outside of the classroom. Online classes can be a convenient way for busy students to earn their degrees. But for many students, online classes present specific challenges.


National surveys of students that have never taken an online class show that most students mistakenly believe online classes are easier and less time-consuming than on-campus classes. Not so, said Andrew Ornberg, Online Student Retention Specialist at Front Range Community College.

“This is false,” Ornberg told the Front Page, “Online classes can actually be more work than face-to-face classes, because on average, they require more reading and writing.”

Time management is one of the most important aspects to online learning. “Planning enough time each week to get the coursework done and sticking to that schedule is critical,” Ornberg said. Students should anticipate about 10 hours of work per week for a three credit course,so maintaining a strong work ethic is essential.

Environmental influences also affect student success. Having a comfortable, distraction- free environment allows for better retention when reading course material online.

Many online courses require students to participate with each other through online discussion boards. “Having a reliable computer and internet connection is a must,” Ornberg said. Students can also use the computer labs on campus for online learning.

FRCC also offers online students support services. “There are many resources available to online students, such as online and on campus tutoring and drop in academic support labs,” Ornberg said. “Front Range Community College has a student services staff who specifically focus on supporting online students and getting them connected to resources.”

Students wanting help can contact these staff members with any issues or questions at:

  • (970) 204-8250
  • (303) 404-5513

Written by Jacob Hallberg

Photo by Kayla Klein

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