What Are Online Professors Like?

As with any college professors, online professors are a mixed bag. You will experience many who are friendly and go above and beyond to help you succeed, and you will experience a few who do not respond as quickly to your requests for help and are not particularly interested in forming a friendship. You will experience some professors who will go over your assignments with a fine-toothed comb, and others who will not grade nearly as strictly. It helps to remember that behind all the technology involved in online classes is a real person. More often than not, that real person will do what he or she can to help you succeed.

Just as online students enjoy the ability to log into their courses at any time of the day they please, many online professors enjoy the classroom-free environment on the other end. At the same time, many online professors make themselves available at set times each week through virtual office hours, or certain times each week where they will be online to chat with students in real-time about any questions they might have concerning a class. Others provide their phone numbers for students to call and communicate with them. Still others respond immediately to student e-mail during working hours.

One of the biggest mistakes students make when enrolling in online classes is assuming online professors will "go easier" on them. This is simply not the case. Online professors teach the same courses as professors who teach in a classroom environment. The only difference is the course has been adapted for online instruction. These courses are delivered at the same level of rigor as a class taught in a classroom. Another mistake students make when enrolling in online classes is thinking that just because they have 24/7 access to their courses, that they have 24/7 access to their professors. This is simply unrealistic. While there’s a slim chance you can get your e-mail returned at 3 a.m., your professor is most likely asleep and not refreshing his or her inbox every hour on the hour.

Finally, online professors facilitate classroom discussions on online discussion boards. They may even require discussion as part of a student’s grade for class participation. For instance, a professor may introduce a topic and encourage students to exchange their thoughts and opinions.

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