An article on what an online course is

What is an online course?

The popularity of online courses is growing everyday. But because the phenomenon of an online course is very new, you might still feel lost at what it means to take an online course and what an online course really is. Course Boom is here to answer your questions.

What does an online course look like?

When you enter a course you see the content of a course on a webpage. A course usually consists of lectures, quizzes and assignments.

Lectures are made of videos, various texts and presentations.

Quizzes are offered to you at the end of each information block.

Assignments are more complicated tasks that are checked either by a robot or by your fellow students.

You can go through the material at any time that is comfortable to you, unless there are deadlines. In this case you have to complete the tasks within a given period of time to earn your certificate.

Who are my teachers and my classmates?

Some courses are created by universities or colleges, some are authored by independent individuals.

Your classmates are people who got interested in the same course you did, and signed up for it. If you wish, you can meet your classmates at forums that are often provided by the course. At some classes you can meet your teachers at online hangouts, so that the teacher can answer your questions in real time.

Can I take any course at any given time?

Some courses are self-paced. It means they have no starting dates, no deadlines and no time limits to accomplish assignments. You can take these courses at any given time.

Other courses start and finish on certain dates. The time for completing assignments and quizzes is also restricted. If you miss the deadline for an assignment or a quiz, you can still go through the course material but you won’t receive a certificate. Many courses leave all the material available on the site, even after the course has finished. So if you are curious about the topic, you can still educate yourself using the material from the site.

What sites offer online courses?

There are many different platforms that offer online courses.  The most popular ones were listed in our article 5 Most Popular Online Education Platforms. Here are some of them:

You can find a larger list of online courses in A Comprehensive List of MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) Providers.

Are all online courses free?

Many, if not most, courses are free. There are whole platforms that offer only free courses, for example, Coursera, FutureLearn and EdX. Some platforms, for example, Lynda, offer courses for subscription, so that you pay a certain amount a month and then take as many courses as you like. Other platforms, like Udemy have a mixture of free and paid online courses.

What kinds of certificates do online classes offer?

Certificates are printable documents that state that you have successfully completed a course. Some certificates require a serious identification process: you’ll need to provide your photo ID, such certificates are also paid. This kind of certificates can be enclosed to your CV and you can use it for your career. Sometimes, both variants, the usual certificate and the paid certificate, are available. In this case you can choose any certificate that you prefer. You can always opt to go through the course without working for any certificates.

Is there any special material or equipment that I need for an online course?

All materials that you need for a course are usually provided to you free of charge. You simply open and use them on your computer.

No special equipment is required, unless you are taking a course where you need to record your sounds or videos for an assignment. In this case you’ll need a microphone or a camera.

I want to try an online course, what do you I do?

Go to any online course platform (check our article 5 Most Popular Online Education Platforms) browse through their courses, read the descriptions and enroll in any courses you like. Enjoy the world of online education!