If you're thinking of taking a photography online course, there are 5 things you should make sure the photography course offers. These tips are for the beginner photographer but some of them will apply to advanced photographers as well.
1. Make sure the photography online course deals with SLR (single lens reflex) or DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras and not just your average point and shoot. Why? Because SLR/DSLR cameras are the standard in professional photography and allow you extreme versatility in taking photos. (Those little point and shoot cameras are just not made for professional photography.)
2. The course should teach both the technical and artistic aspects of photography. The technical part of the camera includes apertures, shutter speeds, lens types, flash, etc. The artistic side includes composition, lighting, color, and depth of field. This will give you a well rounded understanding of not just how to use a D/SLR camera, but how to take beautiful and professional looking photographs.
3. The photography online course should have someone available to give you constructive critiques of your work. This could be the teacher or other students in the photography course. It really helps to have trained eyes giving you critiques and suggestions for getting better photographs.
4. The photography classes should give you both reading and shooting assignments. Reading assignments usually involve learning the technical aspects of the camera. Shooting assignments will let you put your knew knowledge into play. The assignments should also let you work at your own pace and allow you some artistic freedom.
5. The photography online course should have one set price for everything. There should be no hidden fees (like for critiques, or posting images online). Once you pay your money and start your classes you should not have to pay anymore money, except of course, if you're using a standard camera instead of a digital one. Then there will be costs for film, developing, and prints. Online photography classes vary in price from about $100 with all the above topics included, to over $1,000. I highly suggest finding an online course in the $100-$200 range if you're just starting out. That's a good value for your money.