College professors and students share mixed feelings toward online classes
Sitting at home in your pajamas, sipping a cup o’ joe, listening to your favorite artist and on your way to earning a college degree doesn’t sound half bad. But how effective are online classes?
What are students really taking from online classes besides a piece of paper stating they completed the course guidelines?
Online higher education is becoming an increasingly popular option for obtaining a degree. It is a sign of the times.
Although this opportunity allows for students to work at their own pace, are they still engaging in the same rich experience as they would in a small classroom, where professors are actually putting a face to their students name?
Keene State College is just one of the many colleges across the country that is participating in this cyber movement.
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Junior Addie Howard has never actually taken an online course, but she said according to what she knows of the matter, she’s unsure of whether she would excel in an online classroom.
“If it was my only option and I needed the class then I probably would take one, but if I had other classes that were available in a classroom setting then I would probably choose that instead just because I don’t know if I would be able to motivate myself to get all the required work done if it was online.”
Howard said her learning style was more “hands-on.”
For many students at KSC, the size of the school and the student-professor interaction proves to be one of the forces behind choosing the college.
Glenn Guilmette has only taken one online course and said he did not have the best experience with it.
“I took an online class and I didn’t like it,” Guilmette said.
Guilmette said when a course is hard, interaction with the professor is key for success. “I had to take an online math class and they would give you four hours of work and if you had no idea how to do the problem there was no help.”
He continued, “I had to research it all online myself. It was terrible. That was my only experience with online classes,” Guilmette concluded. Unlike Guilmette, junior Elizabeth Curran enjoyed the online class she took.
Curran said, “I think online courses are very beneficial and they allow students to work at their own pace and study on their own time and learn the material themselves which is good.”
The junior continued, “However, I do think that online courses should be priced differently because students aren’t getting the benefit of one on one interaction with their professor in the classroom as well as the extra help.”
For KSC alumni Bridget O’Brien the online courses offered at KSC saved her a great deal of time as well as a long commute in order to graduate “on-time” and walk with her fellow classmates.
“I found that the online class that I took benefited in ways that I was able to plan around it,” she explained.
“I was able to sit down and do the work when I had time instead of having to go to a two hour class and then planning time to do the work.” O’Brien said she didn’t feel rushed with the work when she had a week to complete the assignments.
KSC geography professor Kevin Heaney has been teaching students at a plethora of different levels for many years now.
Aside from teaching classes at KSC, Heaney is also a high school teacher at Monadnock Regional High School.
“I think in certain cases online classes probably are beneficial. I would recommend them probably for more upper level students, juniors and seniors who have had the college experience and probably more specified courses in terms of a major that kind of stuff – more condensed curriculum,” Heaney said.
Heaney continued and commented larger schools such as The University of New Hampshire or University of Connecticut may benefit from online classes due to lecture class sizes reaching 300-500 people.
He said, “A big lecture hall you might as well sit online and do it there because there is limited interaction with the professor in that type of setting.”
Heaney said KSC should consider online classes. “I think adding more online classes to Keene State [College] is definitely something to look into. I think it also depends on the professor because for me personally it wouldn’t be something I want to do,” Heaney said.
“It’s a sign of the times and with technology it’s just something that people are going to be looking into more and more,” Heaney concluded.
Megan Markus can be contacted at email@example.com