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May 21, 2010

Online classes, are they for you?

In this post Bee shares his pros and cons on online classes

Last week I had my first online class experience and it turned out to be very interesting. I have never had a course in which I did not experience face-to-face time with the instructor, so I felt out of place and wondered if I would actually learn anything from it. However, that concern immediately disappeared as I became involved with the class.

Bee ThaoLearning from the comfort of your own environment really helps you focus on what is being taught and not be distracted by other students. Controlling the pace at which you learn is also a great advantage to learning online. Perhaps this is why more than 4.6 million college students took at least one online course last year. That is more than 1 in 4 college students and a 17 percent increase from the previous year1.

So, why this rise in the popularity? And what do you need to consider if you are going to take an online course?

I’ve compiled a list of pros and cons for your consideration based on my personal experience:

Pros:
Convenience – taking a course based on a schedule that is most convenient for you.
Flexibility – setting your own pace to fit your learning style.
Accessibility – logging from anywhere you have an Internet connection.
Cost – paying less than a traditional college; no housing or meal plans.

Cons:
No Face-to-face – meeting after class is usually not an option.
Support – problem solving and completing assignments on your own.
Social – interacting with your classmates is limited to email and discussion boards.
Campus – experiencing the college spirit and campus physical environment is nonexistent.

For those that have taken online classes, I’d love to hear your thoughts regarding additional pros and cons in order to compile a comprehensive list of those weighing taking an online course.

Work Cited:


1 “New Study: Online Education up 17% to 4.6 Million The Sloan Consortium.” Welcome to The Sloan Consortium The Sloan Consortium. Web. 20 May 2010. http://www.sloanconsortium.org/survey2010.