Before you begin your search for online Italian classes, it is a good idea to think about why you want to learn the Italian language. Some people want to learn the language in preparation for a trip to Italy, while others want to study Italian as part of a degree program in languages. Having a clear understanding of your educational goals will give you a better idea of which online Italian classes will be best for you. It will also be important to choose between credit and non-credit courses.
Online Italian classes that allow you to earn college credit are likely to be more expensive, and they will help you work toward a degree in languages or fulfill requirements for other degrees. Keep in mind, however, that not all credit-granting institutions are the same. You will want to choose online Italian classes offered by an accredited institution, as the credits you earn from such an institution are more likely to be transferable to other educational institutions or recognized by potential employers. The accreditation process ensures the school is offering a high quality education that is respected and recognized by employers and other schools, so it is best to avoid non-accredited institutions.
Think about your schedule for taking classes as well. Some online Italian classes are held synchronously, which means the class will meet at the same time each day, and all participants must be online at the same time. Others are asynchronous, which means you can work on course materials at your own pace, but you will have less direct contact with instructors and with fellow students. The asynchronous option is convenient, but it will require you to do more self-directed learning. Most beginners will probably benefit from the synchronous option, as this allows for more direct contact and guidance from the instructor.
Perhaps most importantly, you will need to choose the appropriate class level. Some classes are designed specifically for beginners and the course of study can advance from there; other courses focus on conversational Italian only to prepare you for a trip to Italy or Italian-speaking locales. For language learners, advanced online Italian classes will cover more difficult topics and will likely feature lengthier reading and writing assignments. Assess your own ability levels so you can choose the class that is best for you; if you are not sure, it is a wise decision to start with a basic refresher course.