We live in a day and age wherein time is a valued commodity. A person must be able to accomplish numerous things within a 24 hour day because technology has managed to allow people to find ways to effectively multi-task and get work done at the soonest possible time and in the most effective way. A part of our lives that was positively impacted by this technology is our ability to get a proper education even though we are unable to report to a physical school campus and attend formal classes.
Education is not something a person should take for granted because the future improvements concerning our status in life depend solely upon the completion of education. However, education has also become a very expensive necessary evil in the lives of our young people, and a tremendous amount of money is needed in order to complete even a two-year community college course.
Let us face it; working is just as important as education these days, and, before the advent of online courses, it was impossible to find a middle road where the needs of education and the need to make money to support that education would meet. Thanks to the technology of the internet, web cameras, chatrooms, and podcasts, solid middle ground was finally found wherein a person can work to support his education and attend to his education at the same time. Therefore, I believe that online courses are a positive influence on the students of today.
Those who argue against taking online courses point first and foremost to the lack of interaction between students and teachers as the main reason they are against taking online courses. I will agree that there is a certain type of friendship that develops among students sitting in the same class and chatting before classes begin or even comparing notes during class. However, I beg to disagree with this view. Through the use of web cameras and headsets, students in a virtual classroom also manage to interact with each other and have a higher level of classroom learning. Students in a virtual classroom tend to be more centered on the class being taught because there is no chance for interference or attention diversion due to noises outside the classroom or unruly classmates trying to disrupt a class.
There is also a strong concern regarding classwork completion. There is a the belief that online course students are lax and do not bother to do the work themselves because nobody is there to supervise them anyway. On the contrary, due to the fact that students are no longer pressured to complete a class activity within a given time frame in the classroom, the student tends to turn in better work because he can work on it during his free time and actually concentrate on what he is doing without having to watch the clock.
This is a very important part of the learning process that often proves or disproves what a student has learned in class. Therefore, online courses allow him the freedom to prove himself without the added pressure of the class heckling his work because, as we all know, everybody works best when not under pressure.
As to the problem of communicating with the professors, I believe that online courses offer a more one-on-one and personal relationship between the student and the teacher. Through emails and online chatting, the student can ask for clarifications regarding his concerns without holding the rest of the class back in terms of class discussions or workload. He has the undivided attention of his professor with regards to his concerns rather than sharing that attention with 20 other students in a formal classroom. The questions are better answered and understood in the email or podcast form.
We have to admit that due to the open scheduling of online classes, it is much easier for a student to attend his classes. There is a better chance of students being able to complete an online course rather than a formal classroom instruction course because he can schedule his class attendance during the time that he is really free and does not have to rush around all his other important activities in order to make his class on time. This is especially beneficial to the working students who work all day and can only attend classes at night and vice versa. This way, even stay-at-home mothers can attend and complete courses during the nap time of their kids.
I also believe that because the online courses rely heavily on the honor system for classwork completion and attendance, online courses students have a higher sense of responsibility and mature faster than their counterparts who attend regular classes. Online courses teach the student the value of time management and accountability for work left undone or completed haphazardly when all the odds of his completing the work properly have already been stacked in his favor.
Most of all, online courses allow the students access to a wider source of information during class discussions and classwork activities. The students are on the internet anyway and, as such, have the biggest library on the planet at their fingertips. This allows the students to be more participative in the online discussions and has them asking more relevant and up-to-date questions regarding information pertaining to class topics.
In the end, I really see no reason as to why online courses are frowned upon by others. After all, it does not matter where you got your education; what matters is that you have an education and that you graduated. We need to be practical these days, and online courses are one of the means by which people have access to practical education that is a necessity in shaping their professional futures.