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Handling Online Classes During a Busy Semester

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A laptop with coffee at the University of Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts online classes are great for situations when you need that one class for credit, but you have no room in your schedule. Since they're online, they don’t necessarily have a set schedule for their lectures, except for exams and homework due dates. While UMass offers many online courses during the summer and winter, there are also classes you can take during the spring and fall semesters.

As a full-time student, I have a packed schedule — including extracurriculars and jobs every semester. There are online classes taught by Sut Jhally, who is a notable professor on campus, that I was interested in taking. It helped that these classes also counted towards my Communication major.

Online classes can be enrolled by a large amount of students from any major. You don’t really know who is in the class until the day of the exam when you see your 200+ classmates.

I took Comm 287, Advertising as a Social Communication, during spring semester my junior year. Spring semester was a very busy one for me; the constant search for internships and juggling the many rigorous courses I had. Comm 287 was simple: watch the lectures online, complete online quizzes, and study for the exams. Finding the time to sit down and watch the roughly one-hour lectures in a timely manner before an exam was tough, but doable. Scheduling out when to watch a lecture, whether it be one a week or two a week, is the most important aspect. If you slack on following your schedule, falling behind and trying to cram many lectures all at once isn’t helpful or ideal.

I’d recommend taking one of these classes no matter the semester. If you know you plan ahead well and can stay on track with a self-made schedule, then you should be fine. If you need those extra credits but don’t have the room in your academic schedule, these classes are great too.

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