I’m a week away from completing my first grad school online class! I decided to take a summer school class online, because it fit my schedule best, plus I was really curious. NC Central’s School of Library and Information Science has an accredited online program, as well as an on-campus program. Applicants have to choose which program they plan to participate in, but students in each program can swap out a handful of classes outside their normal venue.
I’ve taken several community college technology-related classes online, but this is the first graduate level class I’ve taken online. I wondered, starting out the summer session, how the online class format would compare to my on-campus experience so far. Here’s what I’ve taken away from the online class:
1) It pays to have some decent, comfortable headphones and a microphone for an online class. This technology is a lifeline to communicating in an online class that requires real-time chat. My laptop’s speakers work fine, but the built-in microphone leaves something to be desired, I learned in the first class! (Oops!) Thanks to the recommendation of a classmate who is also a coworker, I purchased a headphone set with a microphone attached, and that’s working well. (Now I have a decent set-up for Skype, too!)
2) I’ve enjoyed not having to find a parking place on campus, and I like being home already after class is done.
3) I really miss the interaction with classmates and the professor before, during, and after class. I miss running into professors and other MLS students in the halls, too. Being an introvert, I’m surprised at how disconnected from the learning environment I feel, too. It’s been harder for me to remember I’m in graduate school, taking class from home. This particular class hasn’t lent itself to discussion boards or group projects that other online classes may have.
4) Signing into class on my laptop from home, I’m potentially distracted by things at home. If I take another online class, I need to work on shutting out the distractions better.
I’d love to hear about other online learning experiences, especially in library science school!