Online learning is a lot harder than you think.

“How hard could going to school online really be?”

That is a question I am asked more times than I can count. It is a lot harder than a lot of people think. In some of my classes, there is hardly any material posted by the instructor; it was just “read this chapter in your textbook and take this quiz” It was almost as if I was trying to teach myself everything that I needed to know.

For me, math is my weakness, so taking a math class all online seemed like a death sentence for me. Being a psychology major, we have to take a statistic class, I was TERRIFIED! There was no way I was going to pass. When I got to Stat 200, I would spend hours with a tutor; I would meet with my professor through zoom, email, and phone communication. It was a lot harder than when I took a math class in high school and just had to raise my hand to get help.

Online learning, you don’t get that personal communication between your teacher and your peers. You are left physically alone, but virtually you have everything you need at your fingers tips. Sometimes you just need to look for it. If I were to answer the “how hard could it be?” question accurately, I would have to say, “It is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do!”


  1. Online classes can be very difficult, and it is often misperceived as you mentioned as being easy. I think online classes really depend on the instructor, if the instructor is patient and cares about their students performance in the course then it ends up being enjoyable. However, if you end up with a stricter instructor who is very harsh with grades, and doesn’t seem to give much time to explain the course topics then it ends up being very challenging. I myself, feel that online classes require more course work than on campus courses. With on campus courses there usually isn’t a lot of homework, just a quiz a week usually, and a midterm and final project/paper. However, with the online classes, sometimes it can get overwhelming with the amount of coursework there is, and also, it takes a lot of self motivation, which is difficult for a lot of people. I also struggle with math and always find it difficult, however, I felt that I excelled more in math when I did it online vs in class. I took PSYCH statistics on campus for the first time and was so confused, and I didn’t understand a thing and ended up failing the course, however, when I took it online it was a complete different experience, and it made sense. I think it is because I sat and taught myself step by step, whereas the on campus class I was going at the professors pace and in this case, she was going at a very fast pace it was hard for anyone in the class to keep up. So that is another advantage of online courses, that you can work at your own pace if you need to.

  2. Online learning can be a real challenge! Everyone thinks it must be so easy compared to sitting in a classroom, but it really isn’t. You have to be very self motivated and have to be able to keep up at sometimes a grueling pace. You can develop great relationships and can learn effectively, but sometimes it is harder to get support and you don’t have the same level of authentic discussion because you are not face to face. They try to force discussions through discussion boards and things but that is really not how real face to face discussion in a classroom goes, it just isn’t the same. Online learning has its conveniences but it is a much larger challenge in some ways than traditional on campus learning.

  3. I am also a psychology student with a Math weakness. I had to drop Math 21, the ONLY course I have dropped in four years, in favor of a different Math class, so I was afraid to take Stats 200 but passed by the skin of my teeth. (Smile). I have loved some of my online courses and some of the instructors so well that if I see them teaching another course I need I grab it quick. It is a blessing to find an instructor that has built their own module or at least really seems to enjoy teaching. Online learning is not for the faint of heart. Great comment.

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