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What Is Online University Like? Tackling The Myths

Whilst I write this towards the (hopeful) end of the COVID-19 Pandemic where students have spent the past 18 months learning online, I have no doubt online learning will continue in the future, especially with online degrees going more mainstream. In this blog post, you’ll learn what it’s actually like and what are some of the myths around online learning.

What is Online University Like?

I need to say upfront that this blog post is just my own personal experience and your experience is bound to be different. If only for the fact that when you hopefully attend online university, it’s not in a pandemic!

Therefore, the way how my online university worked was you had all your lectures and seminars planned out ahead on your timetable. Then your readings and video lectures were sent out 48 hours before the scheduled lecture. Making the lecture a Q&A session.

Personally, I found this very good because online university meant we had more contact time with our lecturers compared to normal university. Meaning they were more available to us to answer questions and help us.

In addition, I much preferred the content being released 48 hours before the lecture because nothing was set in stone. Resulting in me being able to do the work when I wanted so it would fit around my life. Which is probably a lot better for students as it means they can plan relaxation time, going out with friends and other social activities. Making it better for your work/life balance.

Of course you need to make sure you still do the work!

In terms of seminars and my practicals, they were done on Microsoft Teams and these were great because they gave us a chance to see other people, and get to know the other people on your course.

Leading us onto the myths.

Myth: Online University is Isolating

This was definitely one of my concerns and I think online university can be very isolating. But that’s only if you let it be isolating because in my experience there were plenty of opportunities to see and meet people.

As I mentioned earlier, I saw and got to speak to plenty of people in my seminars and practical sessions because it was all on Teams. Even if your course doesn’t offer Practical sessions, make sure you go to your seminars so you get to talk and interact with people. (And learn)

Another way how you can meet people is check out your university’s societies (for the non-UK audience they’re clubs or social groups that students run at university). During my second year at university, which was all online, I was the treasurer of my baking society. Therefore, most weeks I was on Teams, speaking to members of our groups, baking with them and I got to socialise a lot. To me that was great because it meant most weeks I had a guaranteed opportunity to have proper interactions with other people, and that’s precious during a pandemic!

Overall, when you’re doing Online University, it doesn’t have to be isolating and there are plenty of great ways to meet other people and talk to them.

Myth: Online University is Easier Than in Person University

I was shocked when I heard some students say this but some people honestly believe Online University is easier. My thoughts have always been: what do you mean easier?

Of course some people are going to mean it’s easier to fit into your life, look after family, have a job, etc. and I completely agree in that regard Online University is easier than Traditional or in-person university.

However, if you believe Online University requires less work than in-person university, I’m sorry to say that that isn’t how it works. Due to with Online University you still need to do the readings, watch the lectures, make notes and do the coursework.

Just because the university is online doesn’t make them happy to accept subpar work, late assignments and students that don’t want to do the work.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, I still had to do readings and watch lectures to make my notes. I still had to attend seminars and practical sessions for my degree.

Overall, if you want to go to university, be it in-person or online-only, then you still need to love the subject and have the work ethic.


I hope you learnt something about online university and whilst I can’t promise you you’ll have the same experience. I loved in-person and online university and both were great experiences for me. As well as this, I hope I’ve cleared up some of the myths around it for you. It is also important to note that there are resources out there to help you, such as the Active-Class blog which can provide you with further insights into the world of university.

Good luck on your university journey.

Connor Whiteley
Connor Whiteley

Psychology Student and Podcaster