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Bristol Online isn’t for everyone. Some students love 100% online learning, some prefer hybrid, and some learn better in the face-to-face classroom. Students who register for online classes without fully understanding the expectations often end up dropping or doing poorly in the classes because they feel overwhelmed. They think classes will be “easier” and won’t require as much of a time commitment. While the content of an online class will be similar to what you would experience in a traditional face-to-face setting, learning online does present a different set of challenges.

Q: How much time will taking an online class take?

A: If you were taking a 3-credit, 16-week class you would expect to spend approximately 9 hours a week on reading, homework and assignments in the online environment. A 3-credit course meets for 45 hours for lecture (if you were meeting physically in the classroom) and we usually double that time for homework, etc... This means you have a total of 135 hours that you should be spending per course over the entire semester.

So, if you are taking a class during a shorter term, like summer, you should plan for:

  • In an 11-week course, plan to spend about 12 hours per week on the class.
  • If you want to take a 6-week course you should block out almost 23 hours per week!

Not sure if online learning is for you? Take our short self-assessment.

Online Learning Introduction Training Course

Bristol’s Online Learning team is offering an Online Learning Introduction training course to help prepare students to be successful in online learning. The free online introduction training replaces the previous eLearning 101 course. The training is open to all Bristol students and includes great new features.

The free Online Learning Introduction training course includes:

  • The general expectations of the college’s online courses.
  • How to navigate and use tools in Bristol’s online course learning management system (LMS).
  • Technical skills and tips for how to be successful in the online learning environment.

To access Bristol's optional Online Learning Introduction course

  1. Log into accessBCC and then click the Online Learning link located under the LAUNCHPAD located on the left-hand side of the page. If you have not yet logged in, make sure you click the link to “Set up My Account.”
  2. Click the eResources tab at the top right of the screen.
  3. Click the Complete our Online Learning Introduction course link, to complete or review the course at your convenience.

For more information about Bristol’s new Online Learning Introduction course, please email