The pros and cons of online courses

Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Contributor Alexandria Wilson discusses the good and the bad of taking an online class.

Alexandria Wilson

As class registration winds down, many students are faced with the choice to choose between taking a class in person or online. While many students enjoy the convenience of an online course, some worry that the experience may not be as valuable compared to an in-person class.

Some of the benefits to taking a course online are obvious. It allows for you to do your work virtually anywhere and at any time. This can be a major perk for working students or those who are remotely located. In some cases, these types of courses may be the only option for a student to fulfill certain requirements to get their degrees.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha even offers some degrees that can be finished completely online. However, those in a traditional degree program may find their online course options to be limited.

One of the biggest drawbacks to an online course is the lack of dialogue that would normally take place in the classroom setting. However, many professors combat this with the use of discussion boards.

Junior communication studies student, Anna Rodriguez, believes that there is just as much to be gained from an online class as there is from an in-person lecture. When instructors utilize the discussion board feature during an online course, there is a positive impact that provides classmates with a new way to connect.

“There are several people I’ve had an in-person class with that were completely different people in an online class. I think they probably acted more like themselves online because they weren’t worried about what all the other students were thinking,” Rodriguez said.

While the flexibility is ideal for Rodriguez, the ability to learn at her own pace is also a benefit and having notes posted throughout the duration of the course has also proved helpful.

“I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything from taking online courses,” said Rodriguez.

Dr. Adam Tyma of UNO’s College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media, believes that online courses can be both a blessing and a downfall depending on the situation. Tyma has been teaching Computer Media and Communication as a hybrid course, which is a mixture of in-person lectures and online course materials. He believes that certain courses would not be well translated through an online format.

Tyma believes that a student’s success in a course held in an online space really “depend on a host of factors.”

“I think it can become a detriment when it comes down to certain content and how that content is handled,” said Tyma.

Everyone has a different style of learning. While an online class may be great for some students, others may feel left behind or like they are unable to grasp all the concepts.

“Some students do really well in online courses but it’s hit and miss. It depends on the student, the teacher and the actual class,” said Tyma.

It is important to try and mold your schedule over what fits best both logistically and for your learning to ensure you are getting the most of out of your education.