Attending Online Classes on Mobile Devices

Most of us rely on our smartphones to run our lives. Chances are high that you’re reading this article on a phone right now. As ubiquitous as our favorite mobile devices have become, you might be thinking that learning online means you can do all your schoolwork from the comfort of your own phone as well. But is it really going to make things easier in your courses or will the disadvantages of smartphones outweigh the benefits?

Benefits and Disadvantages of Smartphones in Online Learning

Before picking a device to use, it’s helpful take a closer look at what smartphones are good at and what they’re not so good at when it comes to online learning.

Online Courses Overview

First, figure out what your needs are going to be. You should understand what you’ll be expected to do in your online courses and what technology platform your school uses to deliver course content.

At the college level, courses are reading and writing intensive. In addition to spending a lot of your time reading course literature, researching, and writing papers, you’ll be logging on weekly to submit assignments, participate in classroom discussions, and interact with your classmates and instructors.

You’ll need a device that can handle large file formats so you can collaborate on presentations and create assignments in a variety of different formats. Already, mobile phones are at a disadvantage here. Consider a laptop instead, with its comfortable keyboard, large screen, and built-in features like cameras and multiple ports for USB drives, memory cards, and ethernet cables.

Disadvantages of Using a Smartphone in Online Learning

Smartphones are small enough to go anywhere, and their portable size, while a benefit in daily life, is a definite disadvantage in online courses. They’re built more for consuming content and not necessarily creating it. Small screen size and no external keyboard means that you’re not going to be able to easily multitask and reference that pdf research paper while you work on a three-page response essay and draft an email to your instructor.

Plus, while you can take your phone everywhere, you might find yourself stuck next to an outlet charging more often than you’d like, as streaming videos and viewing presentations can drain your battery fast.

Another disadvantage of smartphones is that they use mobile apps and operating systems that might make fully viewing your course content more difficult and are much less likely to be compatible with all the programs you will need to use. Excelsior uses Canvas for its online courses and while the platform does have a mobile app, there’s no guarantee it will function correctly on all mobile devices and there’s no tech support for those using it.

Great Ways to Use a Smartphone in Online Courses

Just because a smartphone shouldn’t be the only device you use for school, that doesn’t mean you have to completely set it aside for your courses. Phones are still great for other things, like watching video content, listening to recorded lectures or podcasts, and taking quick notes as you study

Your smartphone is also a great tool for organizing your assignment due dates, setting reminders, and planning your daily schedule so when you do sit down to do your coursework, you’re ready to give it your full attention.

Make sure you check with your school’s tech support team to ask what devices they do and do not recommend for their online courses. Excelsior recommends a laptop or desktop as the primary device you should use for your courses, with mobile phones only to be used as a secondary device when needed.

Want to learn more about Excelsior’s online courses? An admissions counselor can help answer your questions and choose the best next steps for your education goals.