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Exploring Traditional Versus Online College Courses

1195 words - 5 pages

For years, college students globally have hoped there was a way to go to college without actually attending class. Now with the creation of the Internet, this fantasy is becoming reality. For some students getting out of bed in the morning to make it in time for class was the most challenging part of the day. Now with the innovation of online courses there’s no urgency, as these courses are done from the comfort of one’s residence at any time in day the student chooses. Online courses are booming in popularity. One research study conducted by the Sloan Consortium, an institution devoted to mainstreaming online colleges, reported that as many as 4.6 million students were enrolled in online courses in 2008 (Seaman). The author has had the opportunity to experience this type of class first hand in addition to regular classes, and this paper will analyze some of the differences between the two types of courses, such as scheduling, discussion with other students and teachers, as well as the difference in the learning itself. This paper can aid potential online students appreciate the differences between normal and online courses, helping these students recognize which method is right for them.
The most glaring advantage of online courses is the above-mentioned capability to take the course whenever and wherever the student desires. This allows the student the choice to take classes in circumstances that previously would have been very difficult, such as while living overseas, or when employed during the day. Being allowed to take classes and do work at ones leisure greatly benefits religious students such as the author, who can observe holidays that fall out in the middle of the week and prohibit doing work (including attending class) without falling behind in their class work. Although this freedom has many benefits, traditional classes provide the structure and stability that setting one’s own schedule lacks. Online courses are an unattractive option for many students who need motivation and discipline to be productive. An additional attraction of online classes is that one can telecommute, which saves you the traveling time. Though, sometimes the time saved by studying at home is squandered while surfing the internet, before one forces oneself to open up the course window to start class work.
Another important distinction between the two types of courses is the limited human interaction in online courses. While conventional classes afford real communication with the teacher, most online classes are done strictly over the Internet which means that in almost all cases the teacher and student will never actually meet or even really interact. These benefits go both ways, students and teachers alike have much to gain from human interaction, whether for a teacher to better asses a student’s understanding through facial expressions or tone of voice while asking questions, or students forming a connection with the teacher and thereby feeling...

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