Skip to main content

How Online Learning Works

At Johns Hopkins University, the same professors who teach online courses also teach at JHU in the fall, spring, and summer. It’s not possible to get lost in the crowd; your participation is logged in chat rooms and forums. Expectations for written communications are high in an online course. Students report that online classes are every bit as rigorous and rewarding as any course they’ve had on our campus.

Is Online Learning for Me?

Online learning is student-centered learning, meaning it’s about you, your schedule, and fitting your education and life together in the summer. Your instructor is your guide and facilitator, but your motivation is what propels you to success.

Answer these questions about yourself:

✓ Are you self-disciplined and motivated?
✓ How will your summertime commitments interfere with logging on to your course(s) daily?
✓ Are you comfortable using a computer and the internet?
✓ Do you enjoy putting your thoughts in writing?
✓ Do you need the pacing of a classroom experience to focus on learning?

If you are disciplined, you can write effectively, and you can organize your reading and writing during the weeks your classes are in session, you can study in an online course. Remember, it’s your motivation that moves you forward.

What to Expect in an Online Class

Summer online courses are highly interactive and academic rigorous, as you would expect from Johns Hopkins. And the students who sign up for online classes are as talented as those who sit in Hopkins lecture halls and classrooms. If you are afraid of getting lost in the online crowd, don’t be.

The first thing you’ll notice will be the consistencies between a JHU online course experience and face-to-face classes. Since these are Johns Hopkins classes, taught by Hopkins faculty, for JHU credit, students presume summer online courses will have the same look and feel as any Hopkins course.

All the hallmarks that make a Hopkins course exceptional (outstanding faculty, engaging discussions, challenging assignments) are there. And, students report improved classroom interactions, both in peer-to-peer communications and in advising & coaching from the instructor.

  • Courses move quickly. Expect to logon daily and looking for communication from your instructor.
  • Your instructor will pay close attention to your progress. Expect him or her to follow your interactions, make comments, and respond to your questions via email, chat, forums (and maybe sometimes on the phone).
  • Lessons and activities typically roll out weekly. You should consult the course syllabus to determine the overall layout of the course, expectations for written work submission, and the instructor’s grading policy.
  • You will devote the same amount of study time in an online course as you would in a face-to-face course.
  • Early engagement makes all the difference. You can’t wait until the very last minute to complete assignments and other course expectations.
  • Most courses are asynchronous; since the constraints of time and place do not bind them, you are free to engage in the course on your schedule. Some courses may have synchronous elements or events (such as office hours, review sessions, etc.), but for the most part, active learning is available to you 24/7.