Since 2002, I have taken online classes at my community college. I have been working on several degrees and have loved the option of taking classes online. This semester though, I have decided to take a couple courses on campus. Actually one is a hybrid course. A hybrid course is a course that can mostly be done online, but you meet with your instructor on campus once or twice a week. This leads me to ask, which classes are better, online classes or classes that take place on campus?
Online classes aren’t for everyone. One must be responsible enough to take online courses because it’s easy to put off your assignments when you can do them whenever you want. This leads a lot of people to put off their homework until the last minute and then rush to get it done. This is a bad idea not only because you’ll have done a poor job, but sometimes you’ll go to turn in your assignment and your internet connection is down. This is bad enough if you’ve done your assignment on time and are trying to turn it in early, but if you have literally 5 minutes to get your assignment turned in and your connection is down, you will probably get a zero or at least get points taken off for turning the assignment in late.
Some instructors will allow you to turn in a late assignment, but they don’t like to hear that your assignment is late because you tried to turn it in at the last minute and your internet connection is down. Most instructors will advise that you turn your assignment in a few hours before the deadline to ensure that you assignment goes through. You will also have limited access to your instructor when you take online classes. If you really need to discuss something with your instructor, it is best to go to the campus and talk with them face to face. You must also be able to communicate in a way that effectively expresses your feelings on the subject that you are studying.
What I mean is, taking an online class won’t allow you to verbally give your opinion, and you will have to rely on your words to get your feelings across to your instructor. If you just wrote, “I think Edgar Allen Poe is great” you wouldn’t really impress your instructor, but if you wrote, “I feel that Edgar Allen Poe is a great author because he was able to get past the grief of losing his wife and continue to write wonderful short stories” that would be a more interesting statement. You must also be able to follow directions carefully in order to take an online class. You won’t have an instructor walking past your seat every few minutes making sure everything is going okay.
If you rush through an assignment without completely reading the instructions, you could mess up and have to start all over or not realize your mistake and end up with a poor grade. The most important thing to consider before taking an online class is, are you computer literate? I know this may sound silly, but I am constantly seeing people in my online classes that know nothing about computers. When taking online classes you will be required to log into an online classroom to get your assignments, interact with other classmates, take quizzes, etc. You will also be required to do lots of research online. Then there’s the fact that most of the assignments you turn in will be typed up in a word processing program, so you really must be computer literate when taking online classes. If this doesn’t sound so easy, maybe you should think about taking classes on campus.
Taking a class on campus also has its faults. For one, you have to take this class at a certain time every week. A campus class won’t allow you to do your homework whenever you want. Most classes meet two or three times a week, requiring you to do your homework every couple of days. If something comes up and it’s happening during the same time as your campus class, you have to decide what is more important. Most campus classes happen during the morning hours requiring you to get up early. If your car breaks down and you can get to class for a couple weeks, your grade will be effected. If the weather turns bad, you have to worry about getting home safely. Another downside to taking a campus class is the cost of gas to go back and forth to the campus.
Depending on the amount of people in your class, you might find it hard to talk one on one with your instructor about an assignment. If you plan on working while going to school, you will need to find a job that will work with you when it comes to your class schedule. This usually limits you to a fast food job. You will also really need to think about your schedule when registering for your campus classes. You will need to think about what hours you will be able to devote to a job, friends and family, etc. You must also schedule your classes to where they are close enough together to where you aren’t wasting time in between your courses. All and all, campus classes make some students more responsible by requiring assignments to be done a few times each week. But does that make them the better option?
It really depends on the person. You have to weigh the pros and cons of each. For me, it’s better to take online courses because it allows me to do my assignments when I have time, allowing me to find a decent job. For others, it may be better to take campus classes because they can’t make themselves do the assignments they are given, until the last minute. Either way, really think about it and choose the option that works best for you. If you aren’t quite sure, take an elective online and see how you do.