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A_Wood's avatar

Online Classes - Good or bad?

Asked by A_Wood (199 points ) March 3rd, 2009

As of this semester, I am taking Online P.E. A bit ironic, I know, but it seems to be working out for me. I have to upload heartrate monitor data once a week and work out at least 4 times a week. It works well for me because I can manage my time with it and I can fit it into my schedule. My question for the fluther is directed towards more academic-based online classes. Has anyone taken them, and, if so, how well did it work out for you? Was it difficult without being able to communicate face-to-face with a teacher?

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11 Answers

StellarAirman's avatar

I’ve taken almost 20 online classes from two different schools and for the most part have been happy with them. They are not for everyone though. It depends a lot on how you learn. Some people are visual learners and it works pretty well for them, as you’re just reading the text book, etc. Some aural and kinetic learners have a harder time as you don’t hear the teacher lecturing, don’t get much hands-on experience, etc.

You are definitely on your own for the most part. The teachers have very little involvement with you and any that they do have is just through email. If you can’t figure something out from the text book you can email them or call them during office hours, but I’ve always just gone online to figure things out on my own.

And that’s another thing, if you aren’t used to teaching yourself things you may have a difficult time. For instance I was homeschooled most of my younger life and taught myself to learn computers, program, make web sites, etc so I’m very used to just reading information and figuring it out on my own. Others may require more direct interaction with a teacher so that they can ask questions and get immediate feedback, etc.

Many of the teachers that teach the online classes seem to do them as an extra part-time job. A lot of them work in the industry or teach traditional in-person classes at a university and then do the online classes in their free time. This means it can take a day or two to hear back from them and they are usually pretty brief with responses. A lot of times I feel like I’m an afterthought to them, or like it’s a hassle to interact with the online students. So like I said, you really have to be able to just read the textbook, do the assignments that the teacher gives you (usually just example questions out of the book) and keep track of your own time schedule and stuff to make sure things aren’t late.

If you can handle it, it’s great as you don’t have to waste time sitting in class, driving there, meeting their schedules, listening to lectures, etc. However some people need/want that and want the more social experience of school. I personally just want to finish it as quickly and easily as I can so I can get that piece of paper and move on.

Judi's avatar

I got my Real Estate brokers License online. It made things great for me since I could just study the quizzes and take the tests. I’m sure some classes are much harder.

dlm812's avatar

I took Macroeconomics online last summer. I love taking online courses because I can choose what to do with my time (within a reasonable limit since assignments still are due on particular days, etc.)

I’ve also taken courses through the mail, and online is MUCH better. I had to take my second year of Spanish in high school through the local university, and my “professor” lived in Arizona, while I’m in Indiana. I could only send her 3 assignments at a time in the mail and had to wait to get those back before sending the next batch. I did all of my exams at home on the honor system except for the midterm and final and all of my oral exams over the phone. It was a weird and interesting experience to say the least – but I did manage to fit an entire year of spanish into 2 months!

cwilbur's avatar

It will take a long while before online courses are as rich or as responsive as face-to-face courses, especially ones with a good teacher. But if you’re mostly a self-motivated learner who just needs a bit of structure, they can be just what you need—better to have an online course than no course, if your schedule doesn’t allow it.

My main problem is that online courses, especially ones with subject matter that changes only infrequently, are an order of magnitude cheaper for a college or university to offer. If you’re paying the same tuition price you’d pay for an in-person course, you’re getting ripped off.

StellarAirman's avatar

Yes online classes could be drastically improved. Luckily the military is paying for all of mine. It’s a quick easy way to get through a degree or have a weird schedule, I work 12 hour shifts in a 4 on 4 off rotation, so it would be impossible for me to ever attend a real class.

Jack79's avatar

I think the only problem with online classes is that you might be too lazy to do things on time or properly. It’s all up to you. I find it easier to learn in a more traditional environment (desk, blackboard, teacher and bags of books, but above all a routine).

Judi's avatar

I guess I should say that my experience is that they are good if you are just trying to satisfy requirements, not so good if you really want to learn something.

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borderline_blonde's avatar

I took quite a few online courses for my lower division general ed, and I thought that most of them were very well done. Of course, the structure of the courses got better over time, as online classes were new to the college at that point. Some of the earlier ones were pretty bad – online, open book, multiple choice tests? Didn’t learn a thing, but I did get an A. But if the tests were on campus or consisted entirely of essays, then I forced myself to sit down and actually learn something. So like any course, I think the teacher has a great deal of influence in the quality by the way in which they structure it.

Ortiz89's avatar

I Have Many Questions. I Want To Take Online Classes Because I HATE Going To School! So I Rather Stay At Home And Do My Work Here. Is There A Specific Schedule? How Many Hours Do You Have To Do? Do You Have To Pay For ALL The Classes You Take? How Does This Work?

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