Choosing the best online Hebrew classes depends, at least initially, on some concrete idea on what you are hoping to learn. There are many types of online learning available. Some classes teach the basic Hebrew alphabet, or basic conversation and reading skills. Others are designed more for scholars, offering historic perspectives and translation instruction that spans both modern and ancient versions of the language. Practical details such as instructor quality, homework load, and cost are also things to consider.
Narrowing down the available courses is usually the first step. If you are hoping to do ancient Biblical research, for instance, a course on modern conversation or life in Israel will not be your best option. Similarly, a course on chanting in Hebrew for Jewish High Holidays would not be suitable for a person looking for a basic grasp on the Hebrew language. Sift through the available classes according to your specific educational goals.
Online courses can vary tremendously when it comes to teaching style and course work. There are usually three main types of online Hebrew classes: those offered as extensions of university programs, those offered by for-profit third party educational services, and those offered by Jewish heritage and culture organizations, largely as a way of reconnecting people of Jewish backgrounds with the Hebrew language. Each category of courses usually takes a slightly different approach.
University courses are often the most intensive. In many instances, online classes offered by regular universities are eligible for online credits that can be applied towards a degree. Full-time students make up the bulk of the participants, but in many cases anyone can enroll.
Online Hebrew classes offered through universities usually adhere to a strict schedule and almost always involve remote participation. Professors will interact with students via chat, interactive video lectures, or e-mail, and students in turn will be expected to participate, both with each other and with the professor. Deadlines are usually fixed, as they would be in a classroom setting.
Students looking for more flexibility often look for commercial online Hebrew classes. Some of these programs lead to an online degree, or are intended as a part of a larger course of study, but not all are. Many are designed simply to give students access to Hebrew instruction that is not as fixed or rigid as it often is through a university. Students in these kinds of programs are often able to set their own pace and interact and submit assignments on a looser time line.
Some commercial programs offer accredited online courses, but not all do. If you are hoping to use credits earned online in furtherance of a degree, either now or in the future, it is a good idea to look at a program’s transferability. Most of the time, university programs will only accept credits from accredited or otherwise preapproved programs.
The most casual online Hebrew classes are usually offered by Jewish community organizations or other Jewish identity groups. These entities are usually looking to provide foundational knowledge to any interested party. Online educational resources offered by these groups are usually very casual and are often free. They do not often require homework, and most are structured on a self-assessment model of advancement.
There is an online Hebrew class for nearly every interest. Finding the best one usually requires little more than research and careful discernment between options. Most of the time, admissions or enrollment representatives from online courses are available to answer questions you have about the coursework. Take advantage of this resource if you are uncertain about what you will learn, how you will learn it, or the value of the education you will receive.