Home Study Courses: Overview of Online College Courses and Programs

Oct 20, 2021

Online home study courses and programs are mainly designed for working adults who want to complete their studies from home. Occasionally, some courses or programs will require students to meet with instructors face to face. Others allow students to complete their studies entirely online.

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Home Study Learning Options

Here we will discuss some online home study learning options to consider:

  • Online Courses: Online home study courses can count for college credit or may be non-credit continuing education courses, while continuing education and professional development courses help working professionals fulfill job requirements. Self-enrichment courses are offered by adult education schools and are pursued by those looking to explore a variety of subjects of interest or fine-tune their job skills.
  • Online Degree Programs: Online degree programs have many self-paced components, though some require students to log in at designated times or turn in assignments by set deadlines. Online degree programs may sometimes be offered at accelerated formats, which provide the same level of instruction as traditional degree programs, just at a faster pace. Hybrid formats may also be available; these programs allow students to complete part of the program online and part in the classroom. Some online home study degree programs may require an in-person internship in a professional setting located off campus.
  • Free Courses: Some major universities offer free courses through the OpenCourseWare (OCW) program. OCW courses include published content and materials online and are available to anyone with access to the Internet. These free home study courses have no enrollment or registration process; however, they don't offer credit or student-instructor interaction.

Program Information

Online home study courses may be offered for college credit, as part of a continuing education or professional development program, or for those seeking self-enrichment. Some courses are self-paced, while others require students to adhere to strict deadlines. Many programs are set up to be completed entirely online, though some require students to occasionally meet with instructors and classmates in person.

Students are usually required to have the most recent version of a compatible Web browser, an active e-mail account, and reliable Internet access. Because some courses are interactive, students may be required to have access to programs such as Microsoft PowerPoint and Adobe Flash Player.

Prospective students who want to pursue home studies through online platforms can find degree programs, standalone courses, and free modules offered through adult education schools and universities. Some courses confer college and/or continuing education credits.

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