Every class should have an in-person section

Illustration by Miles Huffman

My major in sociology has an online degree option. No doubt this is better for the department’s enrollment, but what about the students?

It’s not that I’m Amish or anything, I’m online recreationally more than I should be, but online classes don’t make sense to me.

Particularly in the social sciences. Or math. Or engineering. Or any class that students may have questions.

I was enrolled in an online class, offered only online, for a minor I’ve since dropped. One of my issues is time management and the fact that I don’t have to face a professor the session after an absence.

You can probably guess that I failed that class.

So I went to take it again a year later, with a different professor. I found the same videos, same readings, same assignments, same quizzes and same projects that I found the first time. The section had been copied and pasted inside Blackboard.

If I had done something like that wouldn’t it be called plagiarism?

I get that consistency in what is taught across course sections is important, but nothing changed in this class at all.

Did the faculty really spend any time maybe looking for different videos, readings and etc. to shake the class experience up? No. Did the department chair care about this? No.

I once had a candid conversation with a faculty member. I learned that faculty have to choose which of the classes they’re teaching in any given semester that gets most of their time, effort and attention.

Which means that some classes don’t get the time, effort and attention.

I definitely had that experience in that online class.

Joseph Rogers can be reached at [email protected] or @JosephLRogers1 on Twitter.