Myths of online courses

Myth: Online courses are the same as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

REALITY: At Waterloo, online courses are carefully designed and taught by our faculty, lecturers, and/or sessional instructors. Students must be admitted into the course/program and enrolment caps are set by the department or faculty based on an appropriate student/instructor ratio. Completion rates are very high, unlike most MOOCs.

Myth: All online courses are self-directed

REALITY: At Waterloo online courses are cohort-based. Instructors are actively engaged with the students throughout the term providing feedback, guidance, and encouragement. Interaction can take place by email, online discussions, by phone or in-person.

Myth: Online courses are easier than on-campus courses

REALITY: At Waterloo, online courses are designed to be as academically rigorous as their on-campus counterparts. Student workload in an online course must meet Waterloo standards (between 10 and 12 hours per week).

Myth: Online courses are socially isolating

REALITY: At Waterloo, online courses are designed to be a community of inquiry, encouraging deep and meaningful interaction between students and between students and instructors.

Myth: You can't tell if students are learning

REALITY: At Waterloo, courses are designed to include formative activities to help students self-assess their own learning and to help instructors evaluate student progress throughout the course. There are many strategies that can, and have, been implemented in our online courses to ensure instructors can intervene when students are falling behind.