How Online Degrees Work
There are many different ways in which online learning can be presented and managed. Course instructors work with designers and web developers to create an interactive and effective learning experience.
You can then follow an online course from any computer with internet connection. That means that with a little self discipline you can study at home, at work or almost anywhere in the world. In some ways, online degree programs are similar to traditional learning methods: there are lectures; there are assignments; there are exams. But online learning is much more flexible, so you can usually "go to class" when it's convenient to you. If you get sick, you can catch up later.
You will have (interactive) contact with your instructor by e-mail, chat room, bulletin board, and instant messaging. And you will have contact with other students in your class, which will usually consist of a special software program using recorded lectures, with streaming video and audio, chat and bulletin boards. You may even have your own "virtual workgroup" with other students and be set problems to solve with them. Or you may have to work through interactive quizzes and puzzles.
In fact, because the internet works 24 hours-a-day and 7 days-a-week, you may well find that contact with peer students is actually greater than at a traditional school.
You may receive some printed matter through the mail, or be able to download and print it instead.
Depending on your chosen course, sessions may be "synchronous" (live) or "asynchronous" (non-live). If you miss something, you can normally go back to archived transcripts from lectures or archived discussion sessions among students.
Some but not all schools require you to visit an initial "boot camp", where you will meet the instructors and other students and learn to use the school's technology and reference systems. If you are studying from abroad you would probably want to avoid such schools.