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Written by:
Martin Barrett
Last Updated:
What Is An Online Course

What Is An Online Course? definition with details

Online courses are one of the hottest trends in education today. But what exactly do they teach? And how does it differ from traditional classes? 

At their most basic level, online courses are simply digital versions of classroom lectures.

In fact, you could say that they’re just like regular face-to-face classes, except that you don’t need to show up to class every day. Instead, you can log into the site whenever you want to learn something new.

You can even watch the videos over again later.

Let’s dig deep into the online course world and know what is an online course.

Self-paced learning 

In addition to being able to view them anytime, online courses allow you to work on assignments at your own pace.

When you complete each assignment, you receive feedback about whether you did well or not. If you don’t understand a concept, you can ask questions to clarify things.

The biggest difference between online courses and traditional classroom learning is that online courses aren’t limited to specific times and places.

They can be accessed from any computer, smartphone, or tablet, no matter where you happen to be.


Another big advantage of online courses is that they can reach people around the world.

Unlike physical classrooms, which require space, online courses can be accessed wherever you have internet access. They can also be taken at any time of day, making them perfect for working professionals.

Of course, online courses come with some drawbacks too. One of the main ones is cost. While they might seem cheaper than traditional classes, the price tag can add up quickly.

Also, since you don’t have to pay for tuition upfront, you won’t know exactly how much money you spend until you finish the course.

That said, there are plenty of benefits to online courses. For starters, they provide flexibility.

Students can choose when and where they study based on their schedules, rather than being forced to attend classes set by someone else.

Plus, online courses let students pick and choose what topics they want to focus on, allowing them to tailor their studies to suit their interests.

And finally, online courses offer convenience. With online courses, students can easily review lessons at their own pace, and they don’t have the hassle of packing everything together and travelling somewhere to meet with teachers.

Identifying a good course 

Identifying a good course 

If you’re looking for a way to learn something new without having to spend thousands of dollars on tuition, it might be worth checking out online courses.

With over 2 million students enrolled in over 20,000 classes taught by experts in their fields, Coursera is (see also ‘How to Audit a Coursera Course‘) s probably the biggest name in the industry. But how do you know whether an online course is good enough to warrant your money?

1. Go To The Source

The best place to start looking for a course is where you got the idea in the first place.

Most people go straight to Coursera (see also our article on Coursera’s free trial) because they heard about it somewhere else, but there are plenty of other options. Udemy, EdX, FutureLearn, and Thinkific are just a handful of sites that offer free online courses. 

If you’re interested in learning how to code, check out Codecademy. Or maybe you want to improve your photography skills? Head over to CreativeLive. There are tons of resources out there, so start digging around and see what catches your eye.

2. Get Your Hands On An Instructor’s Guide

Once you’ve found a course that looks promising, make sure to read up on the instructor beforehand. Is he/she known in your field?

Do they have a reputation for producing high-quality content? Make sure you look into reviews left by previous students. You can usually find those on the site itself or on YouTube.

3. Find Out What Comes With The Class

Most online courses will include a syllabus, lesson plans, assignments, and even videos from past lectures. This should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from the class.

It’s important to note that not all instructors post these materials, so if you’re worried about missing out on valuable information, ask before signing up.

4. Ask Questions!

This may seem obvious, but I’m going to say it anyway: Don’t hesitate to reach out to the instructor via email


The most important thing about a good online course (see also ‘Are Online Courses Worth It?‘) isn’t how much money it costs, or even how easy it is to find. Instead, it’s the quality of the material itself. If a course doesn’t offer anything useful, then why take it seriously?

High-quality content makes learning interesting and engaging, while low-quality course materials make it feel like a chore and make it hard to retain what you’re learning.

Use Of Multimedia

Technology has changed education forever. Nowadays, we don’t limit ourselves to just textbooks and chalkboard walls anymore. There are so many great and innovative ways to present information to our students. 

An online course should use different types of media such as videos, podcasts, interactive Web pages, and even mobile applications to really engage students.

This makes learning much more enjoyable and effective than simply reading a long text document. 

Everyone learns a little differently. Some people learn best by watching video clips, while others need to read something out loud to understand it better. Technology allows instructors to tailor our courses to each individual student’s needs.


Online learning isn’t just about sitting in front of a computer screen watching video lectures. A successful online course requires a lot of interaction among the students.

Having a strong community within the class is key to success. It’s important for students to interact outside of class via social media.

As part of the course, students are asked to post photos of themselves working out, eating healthy food, etc., and inviting others to comment on their progress. This helps foster a sense of community. 


An online course (see also ‘Is Ed2go Legit? In-Depth Review and Alternatives‘) is an excellent way to expand your knowledge base without having to leave home

In fact, there are some amazing courses available right now that allow you to study at any time of day or night. Whether you want to improve your skill set or earn a new degree, there’s no reason not to try one out today.

While you are worried about designing an interesting online course, you may forget about all the music video recording equipment...