Online Classes

About Online Classes

Online courses allow greater flexibility in school hours so that you can learn and study when it works for you. However, they also require a lot of self-discipline, effort, and commitment. Browse this page for tips to assist you in determining whether online classes are right for you.

Types of Online Classes

SMC offers three types of online courses, fully online, hyflex, and hybrid.

Fully Online

In fully online courses, 100% of coursework is assigned and submitted online. This may entail online readings, answering discussion questions, completing online tests and quizzes, watching videos, collaborating with classmates virtually on group projects, submitting essays in your online course module, and more. 


HyFlex courses are a flexible course structure that gives students the option of attending sessions in the classroom, participating online, or doing both. Students can change their mode of attendance weekly or by topic according to their need or preference. 


Hybrid courses combine traditional face-to-face “seat time” with online learning activities. You’ll meet with an instructor and your classmates during scheduled times throughout the semester and complete the rest of your coursework online. With hybrid courses, you get both the benefits of meeting face-to-face and the convenience of online learning. 


Technology Requirements

Computer/Operating System

To use Moodle, our online course system, you’ll need Windows 8, 8.1 or 10 or Mac OS X with MacOS 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) or later. Some courses may require downloads or applications that are not operational on a Chromebook.


High speed broadband internet (3G or 4G/LTE) with a bandwidth of 1.5 Mbps is recommended (minimum bandwidth is 600kbps).


You’ll also need anti-virus software with current updates and word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet software (Microsoft Office 365 is available for free to current students with an SMC email address). Some courses may require additional hardware, plugins, or applications. A microphone/headset and webcam are recommended.


What You Should Know About Online Classes

Online courses are different from traditional in-seat courses in a number of ways you may not expect. Read below for helpful insights into online learning.

  • They require a large time commitment.

    Many people expect online courses to be easier and require less of a time commitment, but that is not necessarily the case. They do offer more flexibility in when you complete your assignments, but they still require just as much, if not more, of your time than a traditional course. In addition to completing the same types of readings and assignments as traditional courses, you’ll also likely have to log in to your course module multiple times per week to participate in discussion questions.

  • They require a lot of personal responsibility.

    Since you won’t be in class with an instructor to remind you, you’ll have to be extra careful to know deadlines and complete course assignments on time. You’ll be responsible for your technology. If it goes out, have a back-up plan. If you don’t know how to use it, you’ll have to learn.

  • Your professor is more of a facilitator than a source of information.

    Rather than delivering lectures, they’ll often assign academic readings or videos and pose questions for everyone to respond in an online discussion thread. This does not mean that you do not have access to your professor. They will still be available to help you via email and other means.

  • You’ll likely have to do a lot of online reading.

    Most courses will require textbooks that you can choose to purchase in physical form, but your professor will likely also assign a number of online texts that you’ll have to read on your computer, phone, or tablet.

  • You’ll have to share your opinion more than in a traditional course.

    Most courses will rely on class discussion threads to help students engage in critical dialogue about the material. You will likely have to both create an entry everyone can see and respond to other students throughout the week. If you prefer to only sit and listen during course discussions, you’ll have to get use to sharing your ideas.

Are Online Classes Right for Me?

Here are some questions you should consider as you decide whether to take an online course.