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How do Online Courses Work: Everything you Should Know

The Internet and its allied technology have changed our world dramatically. Online learning is one of the manifestations of this change. The concept is to acquire learning right in the comfort of your home using your laptop or computer. You do not have to leave your home to go to an educational institute. This is an exciting concept and has gained currency worldwide with more and more students turning to the online mode of learning new things.

A guide on how do online courses work?

Online classes are the buzzword these days, but how do online courses work?  Simply put, it is like a tech-based version of distance learning mode where books were sent to the students via mail. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about how to do online courses work after all.

Requirements of an online course:

Before you sign up for any online course you need to make sure that;

  • You have a laptop or a computer and a stable internet connection. Tablets and mobile phones will not prove very effective. They may lack certain features that you will need during the course of your online learning.
  • The course you are about to take should be from an accredited institution. Numerous institutions are offering online courses, all of them are not recognized. You better do your research check the credentials of the institute, otherwise, you will end up wasting your time and money.
  • In the case of internet failure, you should have a back-up. Ask your institute about tech support, and their policy if you lose an exam or lesson because of internet failure.
  • Lastly, please make a thorough assessment of yourself. Online courses are not for everyone. You should be self-motivated and a highly disciplined individual, the flexibility offered by online courses can lull you to complacency. So, be responsible and take online courses with the seriousness they deserve.

How do online courses work?

Now we come to our main topic and throw light on the working of online courses.

Signing up:

When you sign up for an online course you will be given a login name and a password or you will be asked to make one. You will gain access to the online learning portal of your university by using that login name. Every institute has its own unique learning platform or LMS (learning management system). You will use it to view lectures, submit assignments, take quizzes, and conduct discussions.


You can be given recorded lectures or there could be a live interactive learning session. A combination of both these approaches can be used too. In the case of recorded lectures, you can view them when it suits you. But you will have to attend a live session when it takes place.

Learning resources:

Besides lectures, you can gain information on the subject through other sources as well. These resources could be given to you by your teacher or you can search for them online. These could be websites, e-books, videos, journals, etc. You can also gain knowledge through other traditional sources like books, magazines, etc.

Interacting with your peers:

There will be no class fellows sitting with you, like in a traditional class but you can interact with them through the online learning portal. There are discussion boards where you can post your comments and relevant queries and your course mates will respond to it. In the case of an interactive session, you can have a live discussion there. Such a session may be subject to certain restrictions imposed by the instructor.

Contacting the instructor:

You can contact your instructor during the live session or via the discussion board. Some teachers can also share with you their email addresses or social media accounts. You can use the contact as and when the need arises.

 Performance assessment:

The teacher can evaluate your performance through several methods. These can be online quizzes, assignments, projects, live Q&A sessions, and sometimes during the general discussion. All of this will be conducted online and bound by time. There can be proctored exams as well. But not all online courses have this arrangement. You can check before you sign up for your program.

Open book vs closed book exam:

These are two ways where the performance of a student is assessed in online learning mode. In an open book exam, the student has access to his textbooks and he can consult them to answer queries in the test. In a closed book exam, it is ensured through online checks and systems that the students do hot have access to their books.

Cheating prevention:

There is a perception that you can cheat your way in an online course as the teacher is not present physically. But this is far from the truth. The fact is institutions have devised digital processes and checks to prevent cheating. The quizzes and assignments have a certain time limit and lapse after the time is over. There is very effective plagiarism detecting software that is used by the institutes to detect copying and plagiarism in the assignments and projects. This is how cheating is prevented.


The duration of online courses varies from a few days to a few months. It depends on what is the nature of the course, its difficulty level, and your own understanding of it.

Keys to success:

To succeed in an online learning environment you need to be as focused, sharp, goal-oriented, and smart, if not more, as in a traditional classroom. You should know what you want to achieve and how to go about it.

You should be friends with technology, as we have discussed above you will learn many new things related to computers and programs. Take help from online tools and programs that will help you to be more organized, disciplined, and responsible. There are tools like google calendar, and other course management software that will help you meet your deadlines and remain focused.

Be more active and social in the online environment. Participate in an online discussion on relevant topics, share your input in comments and discussion boards. There could be online clubs and other fun activities. You should be a part of them. These activities will help you network and befriend new people. You will also remain busy and engaged.

Ready to Enroll in Online Courses?

We hope you are now all pumped up and ready to join the online learning courses. But which platform you should choose for online learning? There are hundreds of online learning resources on the internet but should be your go-to choice for online learning. We have thousands of courses on virtually every relevant topic, subject, skill, or craft. Courses on our site are designed and curated by experts in their field and you will learn from them in a most professional and satisfying way. To log in to our site and begin your journey of online learning now, go to

Wrapping Up

So, that was all about it. We hope now you understand how online courses work. Some refer to online learning as the future of learning and it is currently quite in, thanks to COVID-19. It sure has its distinct set of advantages that is making it more and more popular and accessible.