One of the biggest benefits of online courses is flexibility. Because they don't require in-person learning, they can be a great option for students trying to balance work, school, and family obligations.

Same Amount of Work as Other Formats

It's important to remember that an online course requires just as much work as an in-person or hybrid format. The amount of time you dedicate to an online course is also about the same as the amount of time you would spend in-class and out-of-class, combined, in a class of another format.

A Variety of Activities

Your courses may include a mix of video lectures, discussion boards, small group work, and online assignments. For example, you might attend classes by watching a video a few times a week (either live or recorded). Your coursework might include participating in an online discussion, responding to question prompts, completing online quizzes, or writing a paper.


Virtual Courses (Synchronous)

In the “Virtual Instruction” format, the instructor and students meet face-to-face via a live video call (usually Zoom) at a scheduled time. Classes are synchronous, meaning the classes take place in real-time with the instructor and students interacting at the same time—they are just virtual instead of in-person. Students will also be able to view a recording of the live session.

Students are required to participate in weekly live sessions following the course schedule and all class experiences, such as lectures and small group work, happen online. 

Online (Asynchronous)

In the “Online Only” class format, classes take place online, and no time in the traditional classroom is required. Most activities are asynchronous, meaning there is no scheduled class meeting time and you can learn on your own schedule, within a certain timeframe. The course could involve scheduled activities such as online office hours, chats, or other “real-time” presentations.

Compare FULLY ONLINE Class Formats

  Classes In-Person, On Campus Classes Online Scheduled Class Times Assignment Due Dates


  100% X X
Online Only (Asynchronous)   100%   X


Ivy Tech also offers hybrid courses, which are a mixture of both in-person and online formats.

Learn about hybrid courses

Technology Requirements

  • You'll need a working computer for writing and editing papers and other assignments. Talk to your advisor if you need assistance with a computer.
  • For virtual courses specifically, you'll need a device with a microphone or headset and sufficient broadband access for watching classes. Virtual students interact with their courses via mobile devices, tablets, or computers.
  • Some classes or academic programs may also require specific software on your computer to complete assignments or interact with publisher material.
  • Some testing environments or skills assessments may require the use of a webcam.
  • You'll need Internet access to communicate with professors and other students via the IvyLearn Inbox, which can be thought of as Ivy Tech's email system for coursework.