In this digital age, online classes have become a more prominent approach for students to move forward in their educational careers. Online classes have come a long way from the days of instructional videos being mailed to students. Whether you want to study as a full-time online student or just gain credits toward a degree during summer and winter breaks, there are things about online classes that you may not realize.
According to Brandi So, an online professor at Stony Brook University who teaches English and women’s studies courses, about 10 percent of students will be fully enrolled in an online university such as the University of Phoenix, while 20 percent of students will take at least one online class before they graduate.
Some students might think that there’s less interaction in an online class as compared to a traditional face-to-face class. However, according to Linda K. Ryder, an art history online professor at Housatonic Valley Community College, this is not always the case. Due to new interactive tools online, students should feel less isolated than they may in traditional classes.
“Everyone is posting to the discussion board,” said Ryder. “As a result, you get to know people in your class better.”
In the end, it depends on the student as to how much interaction there is and whether or not they like it.
“My favorite aspect of [online classes] is the fact that I can avoid the aspects of classrooms that I hate, such as people that waste class time [with] stupid questions, worrying about whether or not you'll get out early and large amounts of group work,” said Toni Foster, a senior linguistics major at Stony Brook University. Foster is taking a women’s studies class with So.
There are two kinds of online classes: synchronous—in which everyone logs into the class at the same time—or asynchronous—in which students work at their own pace throughout the course. The amount of work varies depending on the class. In any given class, there’s a multitude of deadlines that must be met during the week such as readings, watching videos, participating in discussions or submitting assignments. Participation is a large factor in the grading.
Ryder believes that to be successful in an online class, it all depends on the student’s ability to manage their time effectively. She added that it is very easy to fall behind on the required work.
“If you can manage the time and you can manage the workload, you can be successful in an online course,” Ryder said.
Stephanie Ingolia, a senior criminal justice major at Northern Kentucky Univeristy, has found that online classes aren’t always as easy as they may appear to be.
“Sadly, they have a reputation for being 'easy' but I have never found that to be the case,” Ingolia said. “I find them to be equally challenging, if not more, and I have always gotten the same kind of educational fulfillment out of them that I would out of a traditional, on-campus class.”