According to 2014 estimates, the number of college students taking at least one online course in an academic year is now up to 5.5 million — a drastic increase from only 1.6 million in 2002. The number of BJU students studying online is also increasing, with a current average of 920 students taking 28 different courses every summer.
With the expanding number of classes on BJUOnline, it is becoming easier and more convenient to either work ahead or catch up on classes in the summer, in order to save time during the semester.
Registration for this summer’s on-campus session opens March 17, and the first of two online summer sessions begins May 19. Here are a few things to consider before diving into summer course work.
Time. For many students, one of the most attractive features of taking online classes is that it can free up time during the regular semester. “I took College Algebra and both semesters of History of Civ during high school,” said Stephen Rohrer, a junior international studies major. “The courses freed up my semester hours before I even came to college, and they also counted for high school credit.” Completing courses during the summer can allow you to take different classes or become more involved in other activities during the regular school year.
Another key benefit of the online courses is the flexible class schedules. “I loved doing the work at my own pace,” said Jordan Harris, a junior graphic design major. “Taking Bible Doctrines and History of Civ online in the summer definitely fit my style of learning.” While most online classes have deadlines just like on-campus courses, the online setup allows for completion of discussions, papers and tests on your own time.
Although the course schedules are flexible, remember to evaluate how much time you will actually be able to devote to studying, especially if you’re planning to work at a camp or at a full-time job this summer. “Students need to plan 10 to 15 hours a week to work on the course,” said Dr. Gladie Stroup, director of the Center for Distance Learning. “We have designed the courses so that students should be able to work. If they’re taking more than one class, they should reconsider how many hours they’re working.”
Finances. How much are you planning on working this summer to pay off next semester’s bill? Will you be able to afford online classes also? The price of a course from BJUOnline is currently $330 per credit hour. “While the online courses are very convenient, make sure you don’t forget the cost involved,” Harris said.
Availability of courses. The number of classes now available through BJUOnline is steadily increasing. Most of the BJU core classes, such as English 101 and 102, History of Civilization, Apologetics and Worldview, and Themes in Western Thought, which all students take during their careers at BJU, are already available on BJUOnline. Other courses that attract high student enrollment, such as Legal Environment & Ethics of Business, National Government and other business, history and Bible courses, are also available. “With the online courses, we want to help high school students get a head start and help university students get caught up or work ahead,” said Dr. Dan Smith, registrar.
Additionally, an on-campus session will begin Monday, May 12. Classes that will be offered include Modern Cults, Bible Doctrines I and II and English 102.
The resources available on BJUOnline and summer courses are both valuable and affordable; don’t ignore the potential benefit of working ahead or freeing up your next semester. “The classes are extremely convenient,” Rohrer said. “I enjoyed doing the work at my own leisure, especially since the courses were concentrated over a short period of time.”