Online Learning at the College of Public Health

Tips for Taking Courses Online (3/11/20)

In order to meet the varied needs of our students, The Ohio State College of Public Health offers several course formats other than traditional in-person classes. These formats include:

Distance Learning courses (100% of instruction online)
Distance Enhanced (75–99% of instruction online)
Hybrid Delivery (25–74% of instruction online)
Online (100% of instruction online)

Structure of Online Courses

Online courses are structured differently than in-person classes. Each course has a unique structure that will be outlined in the course syllabus, so it’s extremely important that you read over the syllabus very carefully before class begins. Instructors will organize online content in frameworks that best align with the course learning objectives and in ways that support mastery of learning. Click below to see some example syllabi that demonstrate some possible online course structures you might encounter when taking an online course with the College of Public Health.

How is Online Learning Different?

Online learning is different in many respects from the traditional face-to-face learning we're all used to, primarily in the way we get our information and how we interact with instructors and classmates. While online learning offers more flexibility than traditional in-person classes, it's important to understand that online courses are not easier than in-person courses.

Online courses are not easier, nor do they take less time than the same course taken on campus. Some students report that they spend more time on work for their online courses than they do for traditional courses.

Online courses require students to work very proactively. When you are taking an online course you are “working-on-your-own-time,” not “working-at-your-own-pace.” Students must meet deadlines and move through the course at the pace the instructor establishes. You have flexibility in how you work within the timeline and constraints the instructor sets for the course, but the rigor is equal to any other course you would take through the College of Public Health. 


  • Online courses are NOT easier than classroom courses and require the same amount of time and effort.
  • Online courses are NOT independent study courses - but require interaction in discussion with peers and the instructor. A great deal of your graded work online may be done through collaboration with your classmates.
  • Online courses are not for everyone!

Traits of Successful Online Learners

Lifestyles play a big role in the success of online learners too. These are the traits that successful online students possess, to varying degrees:

  • Self-Directed
  • Motivated
  • Comfortable with computers
  • Able to use email, internet browser, word processor
  • Like to read and write
  • Inquisitive
  • Disciplined
  • Independent
  • Able to stay on task

Online Readiness Survey

Considering online learning? Take this short readiness assessment survey to see if distance education is right for you.

Preparing for your Online Course

The College of Public Health has created this online checklist to help you prepare for your online course. Click the link below to access it.

Online Student Checklist