What kind of students will succeed or fail when taking online classes?
We live in a world of pop-ups. We have offers coming at us from all sides... well, okay, only from in front of us. I mean, who types on a computer that's behind them?
But I digress. The point is, we've all seen those ads online that tell us we can earn a Master's in under thirty seconds from the University of Yeah, Right. Actually, most of these are legit. A multitude of respectable colleges and universities are offering actual online degree programs, or at the very least, online classes. And it seems like a dream. Suddenly we can go to class in our pajamas - or, gasp!, nothing at all - and no one will care. We can go to class at four o'clock in the morning. Why isn't everyone doing this, we think?
Well, the reason why everyone isn't doing this is because this setup isn't made for everyone. Not every student will succeed at an online course. How do you know if you are or aren't the type that can handle it? Well, let's think about it. An online course involves taking courses online. (Really, I'm going somewhere with this. Stay tuned.) This means that you are studying on your own, without either classmates or teacher in the same room as yourself. This means two things. It means that you have no one around you to distract you, but you also have no one doing interesting and active things at the front of the classroom for you to focus on, or to engage the class and ensure that everyone is following the lesson. (Okay, three things.) While the lack of distracting classmates may seem a boon to a student with a short attention span, remember that you will be taking the class at home instead, where there are infinitely more distractions. So that may not even be an up side, unless you live alone and have the willpower not to turn on the TV or go make popcorn during the boring bits.
So what does that mean to a student who wishes to try online study? Well, ifyou know you need to be kept on task, don't sign up for an online course. Especially not one without any video lecture component. And if you know that you're the student in class who is always raising his hand to ask a question, then online study probably isn't for you either. You can raise your hand until you lose feeling in your fingers, but chances are, no one can see it to call on you. Nor is there, conversely, anyone to notice when you are falling asleep in class. Unless you're studying in your bed, and that person is your boyfriend/girlfriend. But even the most caring significant other might forget to remind you to "go" to class, so if you are not self-motivated, you probably shouldn't be studying online, either.
So what type of person SHOULD consider online study? Well, if you enjoy studying independently, if you would rather go at your own pace, and if you do not need a great deal of supervision or interaction, then an online course would be ideal for you. There are many students out there who, in fact, are self-motivated. There are plenty of students who would rather study and learn on their own time than in a classroom full of people asking questions. And there are plenty of students who would learn better without a professor who likes to ask if everyone "gets it." If you are of this type, then online study may be ideal for you.
Perhaps you aren't sure if you fit into this second type. The fact is that most students are different, and most will not definitively identify with one group or another. In this case, the individual student must weight he pros and cons and decide for him- or herself which situation is best. Particularly if that student is working full-time and raising three kids. That person might wish to weigh the convenience of online study a bit higher than his or her slight educational preferences. In any case, every student should think carefully before signing up for an online course. Online study can be an invaluable benefit, but if a person isn't suited for the experience, it may be worth giving up your Thursday basket-weaving and going to a "traditional" class.