How Do I Choose the Best Online English Classes?

Nicole Etolen
Nicole Etolen
Completion of online English courses can show potential employers that you have a solid grasp of the English language.
Completion of online English courses can show potential employers that you have a solid grasp of the English language.

Choosing the best online English classes depends on several different factors, including your overall career or educational goals, class availability, and your level of comfort with the material. Other factors include how much time you have to devote to the class and your learning style. You will also need to make sure you have the right equipment for the classes, such as access to a computer and the Internet. The final decision should be a joint effort between you and your degree program adviser.

English distance learning programs are usually focused on literature rather than creative writing.
English distance learning programs are usually focused on literature rather than creative writing.

Before choosing your online English classes, you need to determine which ones are available. While some colleges offer a large portion of their curriculum online, others may only offer a select few courses. Some colleges alternate the schedule, offering a few classes one semester and others the next. Talk to your college adviser or admissions counselor to determine the correct sequence of classes required by the program to help you plan your English class schedule.

If you have never taken an English class at a college level, you will most likely need to start with beginner’s online English classes. These usually include classes that focus on the right ways to write academic papers. While such classes may cover grammar issues, they usually assume that you have learned all the basics of sentence structure in your primary education. Most classes cover topics such as coming up with a working thesis for papers, breaking the paper up into different sections, and properly citing sources. Beginner online English classes are usually very writing-intensive and time-consuming.

Once the prerequisite classes are completed, you can look into more advanced online English classes. Many of these classes are designed for English majors, although they can also be useful as electives. Look over the list of offerings and choose one that best fits your interests, especially if you are looking for electives rather than required courses. For example, if you enjoy learning about literature from other countries, you may opt for a World Literature course. Courses may also cover specific periods, such as Old and Middle English or Contemporary Literature, or be geared towards writing, such as creative or business writing courses.

If you are just looking for online English classes to take for your own knowledge of pleasure rather than as part of a specific program, you may be able to find inexpensive- non-credit courses either through your local community college or online. Keep in mind that these classes will not transfer to any future degree programs. If you think you may want to pursue a degree at some point, it is a good idea to stick with courses at an accredited learning facility.

English as a second language (ESL) classes can also be taken online. If you understand a very limited amount of the English language, your best bet is to take a class that offers audio lessons, as it is easier to learn a language when you can hear how the words sound. Once you have a firmer grasp on the basics, you can move on to text-based advanced classes. It is also a good idea to take a class geared towards your first language, especially if that language has a completely different alphabet than the Roman alphabet that makes up the English language.

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    • Completion of online English courses can show potential employers that you have a solid grasp of the English language.
      Completion of online English courses can show potential employers that you have a solid grasp of the English language.
    • English distance learning programs are usually focused on literature rather than creative writing.
      English distance learning programs are usually focused on literature rather than creative writing.