With students attending from all over the globe, how does the school adjust the schedule of online courses? Are there allowances for the time differences? How does the school accommodate international students? These are questions being asked now by many students who are facing a fully online semester at US colleges and universities this academic year for the first time.
Every school is handling things differently, and even within schools, different departments may be doing things differently. We’ve never had a crisis like this, so everyone is trying to figure out what will work to best maintain the quality of education for students.
There’s a spectrum of online course offerings from live synchronous classes (usually on Zoom), to hybrid classes (meet sometimes but not every week), to no class meetings at all, or asynchronous. Every class will fall somewhere on that scale.
Meeting times could indeed pose a problem for students in different time zones, or where WiFi is spotty or non-existent. In some cases, the Professor can record the class meetings and make them available for viewing to students who can’t attend. This is obviously not ideal.
My preference is for fully asynchronous courses with all work completed exclusively on the course site. With music classes, this might require students to record themselves on video to upload.
Some people do better than others with the online learning environment. Having taught online courses for many years, I have seen firsthand how some students struggle much more than others with the format. You need to be very motivated and consistent to succeed at online courses, and you must have a great WiFi and internet connection and be comfortable using certain aspects of the technology.
Online classes are certainly not for everyone. There are students who will benefit most from being in class, and many others prefer it, so I don’t think that model is going away anytime soon. But if you are super-organized and can handle the workload, there are some benefits to the online learning model.
One thing to know is that online classes tend to be more work than in-person classes, both for the student and the Teacher. There is a lot more individualized attention needed, that’s why.
I would recommend that if you are taking online courses, whether synchronous or asynchronous, that you get to know your Teacher better by zooming with them during office hours. Professors often have wide knowledge beyond the specific course subjects they teach and may be able to help you with different areas of your education and career.
It’s always fine to ask them things about anything, as they want to help you to succeed. When my students succeed it makes me look good!