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How Do I Choose the Best Online History Classes?

Nicole Etolen
Nicole Etolen

History can be a good class to take online because it mostly consists of reading and writing, as opposed to classes that require hands-on learning, such as lab-based sciences. When choosing your online history classes, the reason that you are taking the courses will play the largest role in deciding which ones are the best. If you are taking them as part of a degree requirement, you will most likely have to choose from a specific set of classes. If you are taking them simply because you want to learn more about history, your options are more open.

Degree programs based on the humanities, such as Liberal Arts and Communications, often require you to take at least one history class before you graduate. Before deciding on your online history classes, look at your degree curriculum to determine if there are specific classes that you need to take, or if they allow you to choose from a variety of classes. You will most likely have to start with a lower-level class and work your way up, unless you can prove that you already have the knowledge required for a higher-level class. Some colleges allow you to test out of the lower level; talk to your adviser if you feel you should be permitted to skip the introductory courses.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

If you are taking online history classes as elective courses because you enjoy the subject, you can usually choose from a wider variety of classes. Check with your adviser to ensure that whichever classes you choose will count towards your electives, and then make the decision based on your interests. If you want to learn about ancient civilizations, opt for an Ancient History course. If you are looking for information about post-Civil War America, look into second level of American History, as the first level usually covers colonial times up through the Civil War.

You do not have to be enrolled in a degree program to take online history classes. If your goal is just to learn more about a specific period for reasons other than completing your degree, you can often find free online history classes. These classes are often moderated by a professor, but are not graded and do not count towards your higher learning education goals. Your local community college may also offer inexpensive non-credit courses in history, but your choices may be more limited than those available to students in a degree program.

Keep in mind that not all history classes offered by a particular school are available online. Although Internet-based classes typically have a larger enrollment cap than classroom classes, they still tend to fill up quickly. Register early and make sure you have a back-up plan in case the class you want is full.

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