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College Students Prefer Online Classes

Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley 6084 replies100309 threadsFounder Senior Member
edited May 2010 in Online Degrees
Interesting article at CNN: Students prefer online courses.

Apparently, at least at some colleges, online offerings are popular with traditional students who prefer their flexibility vs. in person classes. Not all colleges are enthused:
Florida State University tightened on-campus access to online courses several years ago when it discovered some on-campus students hacking into the system to register for them. Now it requires students to get an adviser's permission to take an online class.
I don't like to see undergrads miss out on the benefits of in-person class interaction, but I can certainly see this as a way of working around scheduling difficulties. When I was completing my MBA on a tight schedule, in order to fit in one particular class I had to drive 20 miles to a remote classroom to watch an awful black and white tape of the actual class (which my schedule didn't allow me to attend in person). It was a horrible waste of time and an awful way to take a class - I would have welcomed an online version, complete with web discussion, etc. Unfortunately, Al Gore hadn't yet invented the Internet. :(
edited May 2010
20 replies
Post edited by Roger_Dooley on
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Replies to: College Students Prefer Online Classes

  • EffulgentEffulgent 1054 replies45 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'm in high school, but I've taken my fair share of online classes.

    And, no matter the course subject, I will prefer 100% of the time the actual class.

    Taking a course online makes it easier to cheat--if the exams/assignments are also submitted online. There is very limited interaction (if at all) with the course material.

    I was very unsatisfied with my online courses from FLVS. I chose to take online courses because I needed them to graduate, or because my school did not offer them (i. e. "scheduling difficulties").

    But, I would never ever recommend them to anyone who had the option of taking the course in a classroom with a professor and other students.
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  • zoogieszoogies 1280 replies54 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Are you serious? I've taken an online course through my H.S. program with a local community college, and I have to say, it sucked. I really can't stand working with online courses.
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  • glucose101glucose101 4585 replies679 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I worked with one, and I must say, I didn't learn anything.
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  • 311Griff311Griff 1533 replies53 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    actual classroom interaction has something that online can't replace, and online has nothing that actual classroom can't replace, except convenience.

    How does a person who gets an online degree ever learn how to interact effectively in the live social world? How do they learn to be a leader? Seriously, they could just sit in their house, naked if they choose, and take classes towards a degree... how is that beneficial? I guess they will learn how to write well, but so will live classroom learners.
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  • Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley 6084 replies100309 threadsFounder Senior Member
    I've never done an online college class, but I'm sure it would be no worse than my video-based class. I've done online technical classes and it's a perfectly fine way to learn facts or skills. What one lacks, of course, is the interaction with prof & peers that may occur in smaller classes.

    A lot depends on learning style, too. Personally, when I was an undergrad I got very little out of lecture classes in sciences, math, and engineering. I found I learned far more from the textbook - by zipping through the stuff that I understood readily, and pondering over the stuff that didn't make sense at first, and sometime referring back to a previous chapter, I could learn the material. I'm sure some people are the exact opposite - they'd find it easier to learn from a live person.

    The bigger issue is the whole undergrad experience. My MBA education wasn't compromised by taking one or two classes in a format that had minimal prof & peer interaction; I had lots of classes with vigorous discussion, presentations, group projects, etc. Had I taken all my classes without such interaction, it would not have been the same. And that's grad school - it's even more important, IMO, that the undergraduate experience be an opportunity to grow intellectually both inside and outside the classroom.

    My conclusion would be that letting undergrads take a few courses online is no big deal if it lets them complete their degree on schedule. I'd limit the total number, though, and not include classes where interaction is important. If a student wants to complete a large portion of their classes in online mode, then he should be considered an online student.

    As members of a discussion forum, though, we all can see that it IS possible to have an interchange of ideas without being in the same room at the same time. A good online class should provide the facility for such interaction, and students graded in part on their participation.
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  • dxu33dxu33 621 replies5 threadsRegistered User Member
    Is it really that bad? I'm considering doing some online classes for APs during the summer, but since so many of you are quite adamantly against it....
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  • jhum111jhum111 601 replies75 threadsRegistered User Member
    Don't ever take an online class, at least with FLVS (Florida Virtual School). I took about 10 credits online throughout my junior year, It was pretty bad. Sure, you could breeze through most of them in a few weeks, but did I really learn anything? NO. I basically did it to get ahead in the rankings and take some APs my school didn't offer, because it offers none at all. Overall, the classes are very easy and can be done very quickly, except when you get a stern teacher that won't let you submit after deadlines (let you do the whole course a week before it's due) though those teachers are quite common.


    I would suggest not taking online classes. I was going to take about 6 credits this summer and senior year, but I decided to just take college classes instead.
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  • oldskoololdskool 1 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I earned my undergrad on campus with the exception of a couple of split online/in-person courses. I HATED the 100% online course. On campus, I made it through difficult classes because of teaming up with classmates in person. The professors also saw my dedication in person and that earned me favor. But I was an unemployed student.

    Now I am working full time and going to grad school part time. I can't predict when I am going to get off from work, so there's no way that I can sign up for a scheduled on camus class (although it's an option for online students at my school). I just hope that I can project my passion for the courses and work well with groups online better this time because I have no choice.
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  • NoobTakularNoobTakular 103 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Right now I am taking an online class "Microeconomics" in UFL and it seems fun. Three days a week there is a 1-hour video of a recorded lecture by very funny professor. The grade is determined by two exams and a final exam.(on campus) What I like about the class' structure is that I can watch the lectures whenever I want, even on weekdays, and to review for exams all I would have to do is just review the recorded videos. On the downside, the course is not very challenging.
    Oldskool, you should try not to get dependent on other students to help you learn the material. If you do you will get a very shallow understanding of the concepts. Also, it is considered plagiarism if you work with another student on individual assighnments without permission. So unless you get a "group assighnment", try to work things out on you own. You will get the most out of education this way.
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  • cimmoresquecimmoresque 132 replies14 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Hmm, I wouldn't take AP classes online, or at least not during the summer -- unless you were planning to skip the AP exam. In-class APs are pressed for time as it is; an AP summer course would be awful!
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  • Piper252Piper252 5 replies3 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I have taken several online classes. Some of them were great, others were horrid. If you get a qualified teacher, who knows how to do it, you can actually learn more. My classes all have online discussions that we are required to participate in. The teachers are very involved in the classes and challenge us constantly. If you scan the threads you can identify the leaders of the groups. I think this method actually encourages the student to express his or hers opinions more openly. I know that I have written things that I would not dare utter in class. I am a democrat in a very republican area. Some things are just easier to say when you are not facing a person face to face. As a result I have become a more authoritative person when dealing with people in the real world. I will say however, that I would not recommend taking any math or science classes online. You need the real deal for that. The quality of the class is determined by the school and the teachers. Some are great, and some are a waste of time and money.
    P.S sorry for any typos, I have been up for 20 hours straight.
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  • lloyddobblerlloyddobbler 1 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I earned my first 90 or so credits via on campus classes at three schools (Monmouth University, Kean University and Brookdale Community College, all in NJ) and then did my last 33 credits via online and guided study (guided study = pretty much self study) courses via Thomas Edison State college (also NJ). ...so, I have a pretty good amount of experience in both methods...

    I can honestly say that I learned more in my non-math online courses than I did in my non-math on campus courses. During my on campus days, I would rarely read everything listed in the syllabus for any course, because I had class notes and lectures to fall back on, and that was fine. In my online classes I didn't have any of that, so from the beginning I made sure to read every darn chapter listed in the syllabus. This alone made my study habits better, and made me a better learner. My weakness is math, so I tended to do better in on campus math courses than I did in the two math-involved online courses I took (Finance and Statistics... yuck).

    Another poster in this thread said that it is easy to cheat in online courses... and that's a bunch of crap if you are going through a reputable online school. I wouldn't sign up for school that let you take tests in an unproctored setting. Thomas Edison State College would only send my exams to procotored facilities. I had the exams for the 11 TESC courses sent to my old community colllege's testing center where they have a staff that watches for cheaters. If your online class lets you take tests anywhere that is unproctored, I'd be wary.

    Another poster said that online classes offer nothing that on campus class can't replace other than convenience. That is also false, although convenience is a big big big plus when you are a working adult. In my community college days (and my first two semesters at university level) I was quiet as a mouse in all of my classes. I would sit in my seat and take notes and listen intently, but almost never would I speak up in class. As I got older and more confident this did change (during my on campus stint at Monmouth University) but it really really changed during my online class time. Posting arguments and opinions about cases in my Business Law class gave me the opportunity to "speak" to my classmates and instructor in a way that earlier in my college career I would have been afraid to do. So, those shy students out there may find it a lot easier to speak up with their keyboard than with their mouths.

    I'm not sure what the average age is for the poster's in this forum, but I'm 37, and that probably has something to do with what I found from my experience. I'm just a much more serious student compared to when I took my first college class way back when (1988.... geez I'm old). Back in 88, I may very well have approached non-campus learning the wrong way and not studied as hard as I did for those last 33 credits, and that would have been to my detriment.

    If you want to try online classes, just make sure first of all that the school is regionally accredited so you will be guaranteed that your credits will transfer to other schools... for instance, TESC is accredited by the Middle States Assoc. of Colleges and Schools, which also acredits, Monmouth Univ., Rutgers, Columbia, NYU etc...
    Also, check out what I said about proctored tests. An unproctored online test is the same as a take home test at any school... very easy to cheat on.
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  • BreantBreant 3 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I know this thread is over a year old, but I'd thought I'd post my opinion anyway in case anyone is still reading. I went to college the "traditional way" when I first got out of high school 20 years ago. I cannot begin to describe how much I HATED it! I ended up dropping out after 3 semesters because I couldn't stand the thought of going through another 2.5 years.

    I felt the lectures were a complete waste of time as most instructors did nothing more than yabber on with material taken straight from the textbook. I know how to read! Plus, my learning style is such that I learn much more when I can read and absorb things on my own rather than have someone explain them to me. Another thing that really irritated me is that in every class it seemed as if there was at least one student who didn't understand the material and had to keep having it explained over and over again much to the boredom of the rest of the class. There also always seemed to be at least one student who liked to monopolize class time speaking just to impress everyone with their intelligence. I eventually stopped going to class except on testing days. I did fine in many classes by just showing up for tests, but there were many more were my grades suffered because of missed pop quizzes or attendance points.

    When I first started thinking about completing my degree a few years ago, I registered for a couple of traditional classes just to see if things had changed. They hadn't! I ended up dropping those classes halfway through the semester. Then I started attending "online" classes full-time through a local community college. I finally found what worked for me! The flexibility was so great that I was able to work full-time (40 to 50 hours per week) and still average 18 units per semester. The classes weren't any easier, just way more flexible and no wasted time commuting, finding parking, or sitting through boring and useless lectures. I finished my lower division coursework and transferred to an accredited "online" university (Franklin University) and completed my degree in computer science in only 2.5 years total.

    I had way more class interaction in my online classes than I ever did in the traditional ones. I am extremely shy and I was much too intimidated to ever participate in class discussions or group projects in the traditional classroom. I went through 3.5 semesters of traditional college without hardly speaking a word to anyone. However, the anonymity of the online class gave me the courage to participate fully in class discussions and, overtime, built my confidence as I started to see that I could hold my own in these discussions (which sometimes would become quite heated). At the community college level, all the class discussions were conducted on message boards, but once I transferred to the 4-year school, more advanced techniques such as video and teleconferencing were used and group projects were a required part of every class. This further built my confidence and, today, I am comfortable speaking up in any environment whether virtual or face-to-face.

    I now work for HP and I have found that my online education has actually given me an advantage over my traditionally-educated coworkers. At HP, meetings are often conducted with people located around the world through video and teleconferencing. When I was first hired many of my fellow recruits seemed very uncomfortable with this mode of communication, but it was nothing new to me! In the global economy of the 21st century, these kinds of "virtual" meetings are becoming more and more commonplace, making the experience of "online learning" even more relevant to the workplace.

    I think it all comes down to personal preference. If you are looking for the "full college experience" than you will definitely want to stick to the traditional colleges. However, if you are like me and just want the education necessary to get a good job, online college might be right for you.
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  • maegenmaegen 2 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I have recently applied to Penn State World Campus and when test time comes you have to find a proctor to administer the test so you can't cheat. I haven't heard anything yet, but I was able to obtain my early aid estimate and from what I know the estimate is only available to first year students with an offer of admission. I hope its a good sign because Penn State looks like they have a good program.
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  • elearningpunditelearningpundit 28 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    maegen, you can't go wrong with Penn State WC. I've read and heard many favorable comments concerning its programs, faculty, and content delivery. If accepted, please keep us advised about your experiences.
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  • maegenmaegen 2 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I was accepted into Penn State!! I'll keep you posted!
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  • elearningpunditelearningpundit 28 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Congratulations! Best of luck to you in your studies. Definitely let us know how things are going.
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  • SerendipityRingSerendipityRing 163 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Online classes rock. The only problem is when you underestimate them... I had a problem graduating (spent too much time away from my college) and ended up having to take an online class one summer... I figured, hey, it's online, I will definitely get an easy A. Turned out to be one of the toughest classes I ever took :-/
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  • Aquarius76Aquarius76 5 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Wow! The hostility over on-line classes, Listen people, everyone is different and likes to do things differently as well. You should not say it is horrible and it sucks, perhaps it sucked for you. I tried the traditional college and while it was wonderful, on-line classes benefited my a great deal; it allows me to spend more time with my son. In addition, I do not have to travel 45 min. out of the way to attend school. There are some positive and negative things doing it on-line. This is where a person has to decide what is best for them. As for the individual that says there is no interaction that is false. You have a choice just like everything in this world, you can sit in front of the computer like a hermit and say, "there is no interaction" and do nothing or you can make that happen. I have met wonderful people who were my classmates that live 10 minutes away from me. We have remained friends and we have study groups together. So you see anything is possible if you truly want to engage. A student has to be dedicated and set a schedule to read and complete the work that is required and if they decide to cheat, they will feel the ramifications in the long run. Cheating occurs in a traditional campus as well; traditional colleges are no saints (lol), not to mention the drugs, drinking, and the partying that goes on there. From an individual who attends an on-line college it works for me, anything I can do that will allows me more time at home with my son I am doing.

    All the best :)
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  • emmarobert77emmarobert77 12 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    There is the question of whether students are well served by taking a course online instead of in-person. Some teachers are wary, saying showing up to class teaches discipline, and that lectures and class discussions are an important part of learning. But online classes aren't necessarily easier
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