I’ll never forget my first time. It was so hard to get used to. It felt like it would last forever, but somehow I got through it. This past summer, I discovered something that no one told me before: Taking an online course can be a real pain. Needless to say, I never want to do it again.
As I sat down at my computer every day, I realized that there were a few elements that an online course lacked that you really can only get in an on-site course.
First of all, think about human interaction. When people are enrolled in an online course, they usually cover the materials just by themselves.
Professors will set up discussion boards for students to post their ideas and reports about whatever they are reading at the time. While posting may be proof of the ability to regurgitate information, it does not allow for actual group discussion, brainstorming and critical thinking. This is something that some students may need in order to understand given topic.
Furthermore, online education ignores the fact that people learn in varied ways. As it is mainly based on reading and reporting, there is little interaction involved. While in a classroom students may not always be able to get the attention they need, at least they have the option of going to the professor’s office to receive extra help.
While professors for online courses will say that they are accessible via email, this can sometimes not be the case. During my last online course, for instance, I needed clarification on a certain project. I tried to ask as many questions as I could early on, but I did not receive a single response until close to the assignment’s due date. As you can guess, this severely hampered my ability to get the project done.
Lastly, technology will occasionally change and the course website may suddenly take on a new form in the middle of the semester, to which the students and professor have to adapt. There is nothing worse than logging on to a familiar site and not being able to find that portal that will take you to your class.
If I had not taken summer courses, I never would have had to take online courses. I know that there are people who get their education solely from online classes. Kudos to them, because I know that I could not do it. As I see it, if this is not the best way for you to learn, don’t do it!