Telecommuting to Class


For several years now, I have believed that office environments are breeding grounds for time suckage, that commuting creates wasted hours, and that telecommuting is the most efficient way to get shit done.

So why is it that I’ve been so reluctant to switch from the in-person, traditional classroom to online learning?

Over the past six years, I have spent big bucks and mucho commuting hours on several noncredit courses, while my husband has touted the convenience and low costs of online classes. But for me, the benefits of dragging my booty into the classroom were obvious: I got to network with both professors and peers. I got to ask questions in real time. And I got the chance to feel a lot less isolated from those who shared my interests (and, um, from human beings in general; working from home can be lonely).

But now that I’m making my way through my career coaching certification program — a completely virtual course — I’m starting to realize what I’ve been missing.

For one thing, I can choose the method that works best for me when it comes to absorbing the course materials.

When I registered for the certification program, I received a textbook, a workbook, and a binder full of CD-ROMs containing audio lectures, worksheets, and audio files of sample coaching sessions. I also gained access to online worksheets and audio lectures, and was invited to join a Yahoo! group filled with fellow students and already-established coaches. Finally, I was assigned my own mentor coach. As much as I like to self-teach using self-help books, I’ve never been good working out of a textbook. With all these options at my disposal, I now read through a chapter in the textbook, drive the lesson home by listening to the related audio files, and then do the exercises in my workbook in order to make sure I’ve truly absorbed everything. Finally, after all of this, I take a chapter quiz.

Not only does this ensure that I’m not missing a thing, but it allows me to work at my own pace. In the past, I’ve always been a speedy student: I read quickly. I absorbed information quickly. I completed tests before everyone else. With the way the program is set up, I can take my sweet old time…or I can speed my way through the materials and start earning money even sooner. I’ve set a one-chapter-a-week goal for myself, but I wholeheartedly believe that I can do finish things twice as fast.

Anyone else participating in teleclasses, virtual courses, or live podcasts, and totally loving it? When it comes to choosing between in-person and remote learning, which do you prefer…and why?

I myself am finding that it depends…on my financial status, my schedule, and even the subject matter I’m pursuing. How am I doing now that I’m “back in school”? I’m loving it!

Related: Home-Schooled: 20 Books To Build Your Freelance Life Upon, Continuing Education for Freelancers


  1. I got my entire degree (web design and development) through online courses. The school is in the same city, but the scheduling was much easier than trying to go to class and keep a day job. I did about two classes per semester, got my assignments once a week, and had plenty of time to get them done. Aside from a few annoyances, I found the whole experience really positive. And I now work for the college from which I graduated.

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