I took my first online class over the summer and I didn’t learn a thing, but it will help me graduate early. While I am dubious about these classes ever completely replacing face-to-face classes, they are fantastic for busy people.
According to Inside Higher Education, students are taking more and more of these classes. In 2017, roughly one-third of students were enrolled in an online course. This number is constantly growing and it’s easy to see why.
Single parents, people with full-time jobs and student-athletes can find space in their busy schedules for these flexible classes.
This is especially great when the classes you need to graduate are redundant.
At the mere mention of the First Amendment in a classroom, my heart drops.
Just this semester, two of my four in-person classes, I’ve had whole weeks devoted to learning about the First Amendment. I’ve stared blankly at lectures about the five civil liberties it guarantees. It feels like I’ve heard this 1,000 times before.
That’s not to say I don’t like, or learn from these classes, just that there are certain redundancies in the curriculum.
I have a busy schedule and there is nothing worse than sitting through a class where I am not learning when there are a plethora of other things that I would be better off doing.
I could be going to work, breaking news, editing papers, or giving my apartment a much-needed cleaning, but instead I’m having what a lede is explained to me once again.
Online classes let me bypass parts of the classes I’ve always covered. First Amendment? I’ll just click through the slides and write the discussion post.
This self-guided approach is fantastic for me. It allows me to really dive deep into the topics I am unfamiliar with while taking a more surface-level approach to other subjects.
This flexibility allows me to have a tailor-made education and gives me more time for the extracurriculars that will land me a job down the line.
However, online classes are something you have to approach with some caution. They can easily be forgotten without the need to actually show up in class. I know several of my contemporaries who have simply forgotten they were enrolled in these courses.
It’s easy to do too. Without the personal connection or necessity to show up in person, many online classes are easy to forget. I’ve personally almost missed online assignments because I forgot about them.
According to a study by Science Direct, more students take online classes every year, and more students fail online classes every year. Students are around 25% more likely to fail an online class than an in-person one. This major drawback should be kept in mind at all times.
While these classes are convenient and useful, they are also something that can easily lead to failing a class if you aren’t careful.
Students need to keep these things in mind, online classes can be a vital tool for educators.