Special to The Ledger
Fall enrollment has started and online classes seem to get more popular every semester. There are many advantages to taking classes online and many students enroll for them every semester, but there are also many drawbacks. The biggest advantage that comes from online courses is flexibility.
While taking an online course, a student has more flexibility to fit their class into their schedule and study whenever or wherever they need.
“Just about every place today has internet access,” said Ed Lovitt, Director of Educational Technology and Distance Learning. “So I could be at a hotel, I could be traveling and still have access to materials and stuff that I need to do.”
But there is a price for this flexibility. As students aren’t going to a physical class, they must figure out for themselves how they are going to get all their work done, which can be very difficult for a student if they do not have very good time management skills.
The freedom from a strict assignment schedule can lead students to procrastinate.
“Well, that’s not necessarily the best approach,” Lovitt said. “You really need to look at it almost as another job that you’re going to need to fit that in during the week.”
Another disadvantage of online classes is having to keep track of the multiple deadlines your teachers may give out and alter. Student Grant Hensley said he has had issues keeping track of the online course deadlines.
“You have a ton of emails,” Hensley said. “You have lots of deadlines that you have to keep track of, and sometimes they get changed and you may miss the message and miss something big like a test.”
Hensley was made a victim of a this when he missed a crucial test deadline and was automatically dropped from his class. Hensley, who had paid for enrollment and purchased his textbook for the course, received no refund.
Another issue Hensley ran into was the social aspect of the class, or lack thereof.
“It’s hard to make a real connection to the people in your class because you’ve never met them in person most of the time,” Hensley said. “So you don’t get very much social interaction.”
One issue that comes from face-to-face classes would be getting to school and having to stay at school for all of your classes. The online classes eliminate this problem by letting you stay home instead of going to class every day. Student Saige Searing said that he prefers face-to-face classes, but there are big benefits to online learning.
“I have to use money or gas to get here,” Searing said. “And then I spend a certain amount of time here every day rather than being at home or doing other things.”
The deciding factor in a choice between online classes and face-to-face classes should be how a student learns. Searing said that online learning just wasn’t for him because the courses didn’t cater to the way he learned.
“The way I learn is tying information to certain teachers or professors,” Searing said. “And I didn’t really have that advantage in that class.”