Taking online classes offers a number of benefits. Among them are the ability to do your coursework when it is most convenient for you, not having to travel to and from campus (which is an added bonus in inclement weather), and the ability to earn your degree from colleges and universities that are not within your local vicinity.

However, sometimes people don't sign up for online courses solely because they don't know what to expect as far as homework and assignments are concerned. While each class is different, many of the assignments given by college-level instructors generally fall into one of these categories.

Reading Required Texts

Online classes are a lot like traditional college classes in that there is often a fair bit of reading that will be required. In some cases, these reading assignments involve the use of course-specific textbooks. Other times, they come from other sources such as online articles or guides.

If the idea of extensive reading feels overwhelming to you, it may help to know that these types of assignments are broken up throughout the course of the term. So, it's not like you have to sit and read an entire textbook all at once. Usually it's just one or two chapters at a time that would be required.

Posting Discussion Answers

Because you're not face-to-face with your instructor and fellow students in an online course, one method they use to test how well you have learned the information is by posting discussion questions that you'll have to answer in narrative form. By putting your responses in your own words, it is easier for them to tell whether you are able to actually apply what it is you have learned.

Posting discussion answers also helps you hone your ability to communicate. This is important because, as Leadership Choice shares, good communication skills in the workplace can reduce conflict, improve employee engagement, strengthen client relationships, and bolster productivity.

Check out these tips for writing a top-notch discussion post for your online class.

Watching and Analyzing Visuals

Some course instructors will also share visuals (such as videos or charts) and ask you to analyze what you see. Again, the goal is for them to see that you are able to take information that is provided in this type of format and extract from it the data you need to act appropriately in your specific field.

The great thing about these types of assignments is that they provide a lot of value if you are a visual learner. Being a visual learner means that you find it easier to understand new ideas or concepts by watching or looking at something versus reading about it. If this is you, you'll likely find these assignments extremely enjoyable!

Writing Reports

Nothing beats practical experience, so if you're going into a field in which you may be required to submit lengthy reports—such as business or any research-based field—you may be asked to start working on them in your online college course. This gets you used to the report-writing process by providing hands-on experience of what lies ahead for you.

Even if your career won't involve writing long reports, some courses require this type of assignment simply so you more thoroughly understand various processes in your field. Reports help to teach you how to follow the steps necessary in a way you're likely to remember because you've walked through them yourself.

Doing Group Projects

In some cases, you may also be required to complete group projects in your online classes. Though they may be a bit more time intensive because they require working with other students' schedules, too, these types of assignments serve a valuable purpose.

For instance, whether you plan on going into business for yourself or want to work for an employer, your ability to collaborate with others is critical for success. Doing group projects helps you build this skill.

Working with groups of people from all different backgrounds and experiences also teaches you that everyone interacts with the world in his or her own unique way. And the more interactions and experiences you are aware of and can use when solving problems, the better your results.

Taking Quizzes and Tests

One of the assignment types that causes a lot of students—whether online or traditional—a fair bit of anxiety are the quizzes and tests. After all, these determine whether you've learned the information provided with enough efficiency to be able to contribute intelligently in your field of choice.

Sometimes these quizzes and tests are multiple choice and other times they also have essays that must be completed. Additionally, some are timed and others give you as much time as you need. Either way, this type of information is typically communicated beforehand so you know what to expect with your specific online courses.

These helpful tips on taking exams online are good to keep in your back pocket.

You can also reach out to the course instructor if you have any questions or concerns about any of these types of assignments. Remember that they want your success just as much as you do, so don't be afraid to ask for their assistance along the way in achieving it.