How is Online Learning Different from Face-to-Face Learning?

Traditional - Face-to-Face Courses Online Courses
You must travel to a classroom for scheduled classes. You meet on the computer and must have convenient access to an internet-connected computer and basic computer skills
You go to class at a specific time on a specific day. You can attend class anytime from anywhere. This means you need to be a self-motivated learner who won't procrastinate "going to class".
Your courses, assignments and tests are very structured and must be submitted following a time schedule. Your courses, assignments and tests are also structured and follow a timeline. Online courses are NOT Open Learning or independent study. You are participating with a class and will be expected to login consistently. One misconception of online learning is that it is self-paced. This is not usually the case. The instructor requires consistent participation throughout the course.
You may walk in and visit your teacher during office hours. You converse with your teacher online. The most common form of communication with your instructor is email. Your teacher may have "virtual" office hours to meet with you online. This might be in a "synchronous" chat.
Your teachers and fellow students are present in the classroom for you to talk with. You discuss with teachers and fellow students "asynchronously" on a discussion board where responses are posted for others to read at a later time.
Your teachers see when students are having difficulty with the course material. There are no visual cues for your teacher to know that you are having problems. It is important for you to contact the teacher right away with any issues you might be having.
You hand assignments to the instructor when you attend class. You turn in your assignments using a digital drop box. All work is submitted in a digital format.
You must spend a good deal of time in and out of class to be well-prepared. It is recommended 2-3 hours / week for each hour you are in class. You must spend the same 2-3 hours / week for each credit hour of your course. Online courses are not easier or shorter, just presented differently.
A good deal of lecture and discussion is completed in a classroom and is audio in nature. Reading and writing are important skills since you are in an online environment. Your written communication skills are very important.
A good deal of classroom time might be spent in lecture. Lectures are most often provided as reading material or PowerPoint presentations. There might also be audio or video materials to listen to and watch.
Tests are taken in the classroom for one class period of time using paper and pencil exams. Tests are taken on the computer. They are often timed. You might take them at your personal computer so tests are open book or open note; however, tests may be administered in a more traditional manner at a testing site arranged by the instructor.
Class discussion can be an important component of your learning during class. Class discussion is also an important learning component. You might even feel more comfortable participating in discussion in an online environment than in a classroom.
You may be assigned to a group of students to complete a project. You may also work in groups to complete a project. The communication with group members and submitting of work will occur online with discussion boards or emails.