The Benefits of Taking Gen Ed Classes Online

Going to college or university often comes with learning various subjects that may not relate directly to your major. These are called general education classes, or gen ed for short. While these classes provide a well-rounded education, they can also be tedious and time-consuming. However, with the rise of online education, many universities have begun offering gen ed classes online. This provides students with the opportunity to complete these requirements at their own pace and on their own time.

Because gen ed classes cover a wide range of topics, students can often feel overwhelmed with the amount of work and information presented to them. They may also feel like they’re not learning anything useful to their chosen major. However, completing these classes online can be a game-changer for some students. With the flexibility to complete coursework around their other commitments, such as work or family, they can focus on learning at their own pace without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. Additionally, students can have greater control over what material they focus on, and may find that they retain more information through personalised, independent study.

Online Education

Moving Gen Ed Classes Online

With more universities offering online classes due to the pandemic, Gen Ed classes have followed suit.

The Benefits and Challenges of Taking Gen Ed Classes Online

Taking Gen Ed classes online offers more flexibility and convenience, but may require more self-discipline and the need to adapt to different learning styles.

Tips for Succeeding in Gen Ed Classes Online

Create a schedule, stay organized, actively participate in discussions, and reach out to professors and classmates when needed to succeed in Gen Ed classes online.

Introduction to Gen Ed Classes Online:

General education classes offer a broad range of learning opportunities to students in a variety of disciplines. These classes are mandatory for students to complete their degree program, regardless of the major they choose. The idea behind these courses is to provide students with a well-rounded education that will help them in their professional careers and personal lives.

With the advent of online education, students now have the opportunity to take general education classes online from the comfort of their own homes. This provides more flexibility and convenience, which can be particularly beneficial for students who have work or family obligations.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits and challenges of taking general education classes online and how to succeed in them.

The Benefits of Taking Gen Ed Classes Online

Online general education classes offer many benefits to students, including:

1. Convenience

Online classes offer more flexibility than traditional classroom courses. Students can access course materials and lectures 24/7, allowing them to schedule their study time around other commitments, such as work, family, or extracurricular activities. This ensures that students can complete their education at their own pace, without having to sacrifice their other obligations.

2. Lower Costs

Often, online general education courses are more affordable than traditional classroom courses, since they do not require students to pay for room and board and other campus-based amenities. Additionally, some institutions offer online courses at a lower tuition cost, making it easier for students to complete their degree program with fewer financial burdens.

3. Access to More Programs

With online education, students can access general education courses from a variety of institutions across the world. This increases the range of programs available to students, allowing them to choose the courses and programs that best meet their needs and interests.

4. Improved Technology Skills

Online courses use a variety of technologies that can help students develop their technology skills. Online courses often require students to use email, bulletin boards, forums, chat rooms, and other online tools, which can be valuable tools for students to learn and master.

5. Enhance Learning Environment

Online classes may provide a more comfortable and relaxed learning environment. Students can learn at their own pace in an environment that is comfortable and familiar to them, which may improve their overall learning experience. Additionally, students have the opportunity to interact with peers and instructors from a variety of locations and backgrounds, which can broaden their perspectives and enhance their learning.

Challenges of Taking Gen Ed Classes Online

While online general education classes offer many benefits, there are also challenges that students may face when taking online courses. Some of the challenges include:

1. Self-Discipline

Online classes require students to be self-disciplined, self-motivated, and organized. This means students must have the ability to manage their time effectively and stay on task to complete their coursework. Online coursework can be more difficult for those who struggle with self-discipline or have a busy schedule.

2. Limited Interaction

Many students find the lack of face-to-face interaction with instructors, classmates, and support staff challenging. Online classes usually rely on email, chat rooms, and discussion forums to communicate, creating a less interactive environment for some students.

3. Technical Difficulties

Online classes may require the use of various technologies, which can cause technical difficulties for some students. Students must also have access to a reliable computer, internet connection, and other equipment necessary to complete their coursework.

4. Limited Feedback

Feedback in online classes may be limited since instructors may not be able to read body language, facial expressions, or other nonverbal cues that might indicate the student’s level of understanding or confusion. Therefore, additional tools and resources may be necessary to overcome this challenge.

5. Lack of Structure

Online general education courses require self-regulation, making it essential that students are capable of setting and maintaining their own structure. Without the structure that traditional classroom courses provide, some students may struggle to remain motivated and engaged in their coursework.

How to Succeed in Gen Ed Classes Online

To succeed in online general education classes, students should consider the following:

1. Set Realistic Goals

Students should set realistic goals for their online coursework, taking into consideration their other commitments, such as work and family responsibilities. Students should strive to meet these goals by planning their study schedule efficiently.

2. Actively Participate

Students should actively participate in online class discussions and collaborative projects, as this helps to build a sense of community and engagement in the class. It is also essential to communicate effectively with instructors for additional support.

3. Establish Rapport with Support Staff

Students should connect with the institution’s support staff, such as academic advisors, student services personnel, and technical support staff. These resources can provide students with the assistance they need to succeed in their coursework.

4. Develop Good Time Management Skills

Students should develop good time-management skills, scheduling their study time around their other commitments and setting aside consistent timeframes to complete their coursework. By establishing a routine, students can learn to manage their time wisely and boost their productivity.

5. Use Technology Effectively

Students should understand how to use the technologies that are required for their online course. They should also have backup plans in case of technical difficulties, such as their computer crashing or internet connection problems.

6. Seek Additional Resources

Online learners should also seek additional resources outside of their coursework, such as academic support services, library resources, and online study groups. These resources can enhance the learning experience and provide additional support for students’ academic success.


Online general education classes offer students many benefits, providing more flexibility, convenience, and access. Students must be self-disciplined, highly motivated, and organized to succeed in these courses. To succeed in online general education classes, students should set realistic goals, actively participate, establish relationships with staff, develop good time management skills, use technology effectively and seek additional resources outside of their coursework.

FAQ About Gen Ed Classes Online

1. What are Gen Ed classes?

General Education (Gen Ed) classes are courses that all college students must take regardless of their major. These classes expose students to a breadth of academic disciplines and help them gain a well-rounded education. For example, Gen Ed classes might cover topics like math, science, history, communication, and social sciences.

2. Can I take Gen Ed classes online?

Yes, many colleges and universities offer Gen Ed classes online. Online classes can be a great option for students who prefer to work at their own pace or have scheduling conflicts that make it difficult to attend in-person classes. However, it’s important to make sure that the online classes are accredited and meet the same academic standards as in-person classes.

3. How do I know which Gen Ed classes to take?

Your college or university will provide you with a list of Gen Ed classes that you are required to take. You should make sure to familiarize yourself with the requirements and deadlines for completing these courses, so that you can stay on track to graduate on time.

4. Are Gen Ed classes easier online?

There is no definitive answer to this question, since the level of difficulty for any given class will depend on a variety of factors. Some students may find that the online format is more challenging, since they need to be self-disciplined and motivated to stay on track. Other students may thrive in the online format, since it allows them greater flexibility and freedom to work at their own pace.

5. How do I stay engaged in an online Gen Ed class?

To stay engaged in an online class, it’s important to participate actively in discussions and complete assignments on time. You should also make an effort to connect with your classmates and instructors, even if you never meet in person. This can help you stay motivated and build a sense of community within the online class.

6. Do I need any special technology to take online Gen Ed classes?

You will need access to a computer with a reliable internet connection in order to take online Gen Ed classes. Depending on the specific class, you may also need to download specific software or apps. Your college or university should provide you with information about any required technology in advance of the class.

7. How do I communicate with my instructor in an online Gen Ed class?

You can communicate with your instructor in an online Gen Ed class through email or the platform used to host the class (such as Blackboard or Canvas). It’s important to check your messages frequently and to be clear and professional in your communications.

8. Can I work on assignments at my own pace in an online Gen Ed class?

Most online Gen Ed classes are designed to be flexible, so that students can work on assignments at their own pace. However, it’s important to stay on track with deadlines and to communicate with your instructor if you need to request an extension or other accommodations.

9. How do I take exams in an online Gen Ed class?

Exams in online Gen Ed classes may be administered in a variety of ways, such as through online quizzes, papers, or proctored exams. Your instructor should provide you with information about how exams will be administered and what materials you can use during the exam.

10. How do I know if an online Gen Ed class is right for me?

Online Gen Ed classes can be a great option for many students, but they are not ideal for everyone. To determine if an online class is right for you, consider your learning style, your motivation levels, and the demands on your schedule. Additionally, you should research the specific class and instructor to make sure that they are a good fit for your academic goals and needs.

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