campus picture 11.2013Obviously, the majority of students in online college courses didn’t enroll in these classes so they could spend more time on a college campus. However, different schools and programs have different requirements. Some courses can require you to visit campus for examinations or special events, while some require only virtual attendance and still others combine online and in-person learning. Before signing up for online courses, find out what in-person time commitments these programs require.

Situations That Require In-Person Attendance

Students who enroll in colleges that only offer online degree programs – those that don’t have a brick-and-mortar campus location – may never have to visit a physical campus. However, as an increasing number of traditional schools now offer online courses as well as on-campus courses, more students of online classes do have a physical campus. More than 60 percent of schools now include fully online degree programs in addition to their traditional on-campus degree programs, and the rate of schools that do so has doubled in the past 10 years, according to U.S. News & World Report. These schools already have physical campuses, where the same professors who teach online courses may also teach traditional courses.

Instructors may ask that students of their online courses visit the campus for testing or special events. Online classes present a unique challenge in regards to academic dishonesty. In a traditional course, a student could buy a paper or pay someone else to do his or her homework, but ultimately that student would still have to take a test in person. Professors of online courses often can’t be completely sure that the student who is enrolled and is actually getting credit for the course is the one completing the work, including tests. That may be one reason why some instructors require in-person testing even for online courses. In the case of examinations required for obtaining licensure or credentials, in-person attendance may be required by an organization outside the school.

Even Virtual Attendance Matters

Even if your online course doesn’t require you to make the trek to campus, keep in mind that your virtual attendance matters. To succeed in an online course, you must be as dedicated to completing and submitting assignments and tests online as you would be to completing and handing in the work in person. It’s important that you log into your virtual classroom regularly, even if the lectures don’t take place in real-time, so you can interact with your professor and fellow students and participate in class discussions.

Most students choose online courses for the sake of convenience. They enjoy the option of completing their work and studying their lessons without having to sacrifice important time commitments, like maintaining their regular work schedule and taking care of a family. By learning the details about an online degree program before signing up, you can be prepared for the amount of in-person time that you will have to give up to earn your degree.