Self-paced online courses offer students convenience and flexibility

Mengyuan Dong

Due to the pressure of graduating on time, students sometimes have to take heavy course loads to complete their degree plan on time. University Extension online self-paced courses can help students ease this pressure.

Students can register for an extension course any time during the year. Once enrolled in an extension course, students can access all the class materials online and have up to five months to complete the coursework. After that, the student requests a final exam and must take it within 30 days.

Most extension courses count toward UT degree requirements, including basic core requirements such as world literature, Texas government and United States history. Michael Raney, University Extension academic adviser, said these courses work well for students trying to graduate early or those who want to stay on track while away from campus on break or for other reasons. Extension courses cost between $350 and $1100. 

“Students with busy schedules will appreciate the convenience and flexibility of (extension) self-paced online courses,” Raney said.

To graduate on time, psychology senior Katheryn Toy completed two extension courses during the summer following her transfer to UT. Feeling comfortable with self-paced learning, Toy decided to take additional extension courses the following semesters.

“I’m very much a night person and this makes it easy for me to go camp out at a 24-hour coffee shop and burn through a lot of work in the evenings,” Toy said. “I generally feel less stressed by them and usually get higher grades in them.”

English senior Alexandra Villegas said she cannot graduate on time unless she completes an extension course this upcoming winter break. However, she said she has not yet decided if she will be taking one.

“I’m a little intimidated by these types of courses,” Villegas said. “My concerns have to do with me not knowing how this works and which professors will run the course and grade my things.”

Toy said students interested in extension courses should find the syllabus before enrolling. Extension courses can vary on the time commitment and format, and it is important for people to consider their study habits in advance, Toy said.

“It is up to you to make sure you don’t slip too far behind while you’re busy with other things,” Toy said. “If you feel confident in these aspects and also enjoy working at your own speed, I definitely recommend taking online courses.”