Online Classes: A Student Perspective

books on top of a laptop
Image courtesy of http://www.convercent.com

As technology has grown and generations get busier, the use of online classes and education has increased.  Online classes are loved for their flexibility and anonymity, but often disliked for lack of accountability and the decrease in the amount of interaction. While online classes often include discussion boards, there are still time gaps between posts and students often fail to read the posts made by other students.

I’ve taken online classes every semester because of a busy schedule and my attempt to graduate on time while double majoring, pursuing a minor, and going abroad for 8 months. While I love the ability to work on my homework from my bed at any time of my choosing, I have noticed that I often put my online classes on the back burner and have even forgotten to finish assignments because I’m used to reminders from instructors or other classmates.  Another aspect of traditional classroom settings that I think surpasses online classroom settings is the group interaction. I get to know my classmates, we work on group projects or homework together, and we study for the exams.  While this type of interaction is possible in online classrooms it is less likely, and I personally have never pursued friendships via email from the course roster.

I think a way to improve online classes is to provide a more personal front. Integrating video interface or starting an email thread or group text message would be a way to get students more involved within the class and would double as a reminder to students to log in to their class and get their work done on time.  I believe that professors should keep their roster smaller so that they are able to give personal feedback and reach out to their students. Also, professors’ main job is to essentially teach course material, but a very close second (if not first) is to inspire students to find their passions and pursue their dreams. Again, this is possible in online courses, but it requires a bit more creativity and effort. I think professors should be sure they introduce themselves, make a point to learn about their students, and take interest in why they’re taking the course and how it will help them be successful as a graduate.

All in all, I think the fusion of technology and education is an incredible thing, and I would recommend taking online classes to those who have busy schedules or time constraints. However, I think that there is room for improvement and as changes are made in the world of technology, these changes also need to be updated in the world of education and used to their full potential.

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