Online learning is becoming much more prevalent and accessible nowadays. Many universities have been offering online course options for years, but you can now take classes in a variety of subjects online without being enrolled in university, for a fraction of the cost of a college credit. Some courses are even available for free.
Many of these online classes are developed by professors at universities or other professionals in the field, so you can be sure that the course material is accurate and just as valuable as taking a class in person.
These classes are not limited to basic skills like learning Microsoft Word, you can study nearly anything. One option is to take online biology courses for beginners or more advanced students, in any given subarea of biology study, in order to boost your knowledge of the field.
Why Study Biology Online?
There are a number of reasons someone might choose to study biology online. People choose to take online classes in general because they offer flexibility that in-person classes just don’t and online classes also tend to be less expensive. Cost and the ability to take a class from the comfort of your own home aren’t the only reasons someone might choose to take online biology courses, however.
A high school student may be taking a biology class at school and need some extra help studying the course material. Especially considering class sizes are getting larger at high schools in some areas, sometimes students just don’t get the one-on-one help they need or the particular teacher doesn’t always teach to their specific learning style.
For a student who is struggling in a traditional classroom environment, taking an online class can help them to study the material and boost their understanding.
A student who is considering studying biology at a university may also take online biology courses, not as a supplement to a class they are already taking, but to try out the material. University can be costly, depending on where you are, and taking a class only to find out you don’t like the material or don’t actually want to pursue that career path can be an expensive letdown. Taking free or inexpensive classes online is a cost-effective way of trying out new subjects in order to see if they are something you might want to study at university.
Some universities also allow students to “test out” of introductory courses for subjects they already have a basic understanding of. This allows students to immediately move on into more advanced classes and finish their courses of study more quickly. Typically, the cost of taking an online class plus the cost of taking the test is going to be less than if you took the class at a university.
You’ll still have to study the material, of course, but it can be done at your own pace, any time you want, and still leave you with enough understanding of the material to pass a test on it. Similarly, taking a class online that is related to your career can help to add valuable skills to your resume without having to take extra classes or spend months or years attempting to learn them on the job.
These aren’t the only reasons someone might study biology online. A parent may take a class online to better help their child with their homework or to understand their chosen career path. A science teacher may want a refresher on the material they are teaching. An office worker at a pharmaceuticals company, oncology office, or research university may want to better understand the company they work for and the type of work that goes into biology-related careers.
There are classes in music biology a musician could take, lactation biology a new parent might be interested in, astrobiology for astronomers, nanobiology for those with technology-related careers, plant biology for the hobby gardener just looking to understand a little more about what they are doing. The possibilities really are endless and one of the places online you can take these classes (and many more) is Coursera.org.
Introductory Human Physiology
Human physiology is a sub-discipline of biology that looks at the functions with the human body. It focuses on how organs, cells, molecules, etc. all work together and carry out the functions necessary for a living being. Anyone wanting to study anatomy, including people who eventually want to go into a medical related field, may want to look at this course.
You will learn different skills and concepts throughout each module that you can then apply to other modules. Each week is not separate, just like each system in the body is not separate. By the end of the course, you’ll have a good foundation for understanding how each system in the body works and what exactly human physiology is all about. Whether you’re taking it for fun, to add to your understanding of a physiology class you’re taking at school, or to test out whether you might like to take a pre-med course and go into the healthcare field, this course is a great way to gain knowledge of human biology and physiology.
Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life
Astrobiology may have some theoretical elements to it, as we have yet to truly discover life on other planets, but it is at its core based in the biology of life itself. In order to figure out how and where extraterrestrial life might be found, you have to first understand how life came to be on planet Earth. How did life begin here? How did it come to evolve beyond sing cell organisms? How did it continue to thrive and develop into what we see now? Anyone who wants to study human evolution or related fields would find this course useful for that element alone.
This course will go beyond that, of course. It looks at elements a planet might have to have in order to allow life to develop and prosper. It goes over exactly how we can (and have!) found planets outside of our own solar system and the methods we could use in order to figure out if they have life on them. On the more theoretical side, it asks what we might expect from life on other planets. How intelligent or sentient would it be? What would it look like? How would we navigate contact with them? What would the impact on our society be?
Anyone with an interest in evolution, astronomy, or even science fiction might want to consider this course as a good way to get some basic knowledge about life on Earth and to ask themselves philosophical questions about life beyond our solar system…
Get a Leg up on Your Studies
All in all, the point of taking online classes is to pursue knowledge. Students who are having difficulties in class can flourish by gaining extra knowledge online, at their own pace and in ways that suit their learning styles better than traditional classrooms.
Potential students who are considering studying medicine, pharmaceuticals, botany, nanobiology, even music or astronomy, can benefit from taking courses online to test out certain subjects before they commit to the expense of a degree program.
Professionals already in a biology or related field can gain additional knowledge to add skills to their resume and professionals who work with others in biology fields can learn about what their companies do.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to take online biology classes, you can rest assured that taking an online class through a website such as Coursera is going to give you the same quality of learning that taking an in-person class would.
You also have the added benefits of being able to study at your own pace, take quizzes when you have the time, and learn free from the distractions classrooms can sometimes have. You’ll also have access to message boards where you can speak with other students. Your pursuit of knowledge will be helped, not hindered, by choosing to take an online class so why not give it a try?