Not leaving home, sitting on the couch and class time whenever: all enticing facets of online classes. But is it all worth it?
Online classes are an easy way to avoid the stress of creating a cohesive class schedule and getting to campus. It can seem like a miracle when searching for a class and an online section appears, but not for me.
I dislike online classes because not only do I think they don’t produce as much knowledge as a traditional class setting, but they can also be unreliable and downright obnoxious.
One of my least favorite issues of online classes is their unreliability.
It seems that sometimes when a professor is teaching an online class they don’t always keep up. Professors who teach online classes are notoriously unreliable. Not responding to emails and skipping office hours are something I had to deal with constantly.
Technology is also unreliable. The Internet going out or even just the online learning provider’s system going down have happened to me multiple times.
The problem is that for some reason many people truly believe technology is completely flawless. I have had to take a zero on an online quiz due to the Internet going out. For some reason, the professor declined allowing me to retake it.
In my opinion, nothing can beat a true in-class learning experience. Sometimes one can learn just as much from peers as a professor. Other students’ questions can evoke thought that would have never occurred otherwise.
The social aspect of a classroom setting also creates a learning experience all on its own. The difference between a high school classmate and a college classmate’s conversation is of much more intellectual intelligence and value.
Forgoing the in-class experience for online classes only robs students of more knowledge that could be learned from their surroundings.
Another problem with online classes is a complaint that most people have heard before: “I have to teach myself.”
When paying today’s over-inflated college tuition, it is unfair to be forced to teach yourself. It can feel like being ripped off.
The main reason online classes provide less education is because cheating is rampant. Even when attempting to actually learn, for many the lure of just Googling the answer is too tempting.
There are even companies dedicated to taking online classes for students with different classes and different schools warranting different prices.
Online classes are also obnoxious. Recently I was forced to use a program called Proctorio. Proctorio is an online test-taking system that accesses the computer’s microphone and camera system.
Creepy right? The program watched me the whole time as I took a test and even asked for a panorama of the room I was taking the test in.
I have absolutely no idea who is going to be able to see that video.
I’m no tech-wiz, but I would think installing programs like this make a computer more susceptible to being hacked.
If professors are going to go that far just to prevent cheating, why not just make the class in-person?
I sincerely hope Proctorio doesn’t become a common thing used in classes, since many classes do have online portions.
Although online classes aren’t my preference, I do acknowledge that everyone has a different learning style, and for some online classes are beneficial. I also acknowledge that some people don’t have the time to make it to class.
I can honestly say I’ve learned very little from online classes. I’ve taken two for convenience but don’t want to take any more. I’m in college to learn, not for the convenience and ease of online classes.
Mark Edmundson, an English professor, said in a New York Times article, “Learning at its best is a collective enterprise, something we’ve known since Socrates.” Meaning that staring at a screen alone is not as effective for learning as being in a classroom setting with others.
Ultimately, online classes may be more trouble than they are worth. For me, I get a more valuable experience from being in a classroom and experiencing more hands-on learning. I believe that is the most beneficial and lasting way to learn.
Alex Horne can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.