Online classes rob students of real education

College is more about interaction, learning social skills.


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Illustration courtesy of East Los Angeles College. 

We do a lot of things these days for convenience. When you think about online classes, most people would probably list convenience as the most alluring quality. But, in all honesty, unless you have a legitimate reason to be staying home and taking these classes, it really isn’t worth the convenience factor.

By actually going to campus and taking the course in the classroom, you gain a lot more than just the knowledge spouted out by the professor.

As far as social aspects are concerned, we get far too much of the wrong kind these days. With the plethora of new ways to communicate, face-to-face contact has become a dying art.

People would rather complain over email, break up over text and quit their jobs via Skype. But the more time we spend inside the college classroom interacting with our peers, the better our social skills become. And our generation needs all the help it can get.

By forcing us to discuss things with others, college teaches us to compromise and see the viewpoint of others. By listening to the professor speak, we learn to pay attention and interact professionally. In addition, by having a set schedule of classes with designated times to be places, we are practicing punctuality and responsibility that will be required in absolutely any job market we enter into — and life in general.

Speaking of the structure of a schedule, another way on-campus learning outranks online classes is the structure of the lecture. Think about it: What is the typical structure of your everyday lecture? You walk in, listen to someone present information to you, take notes and ask questions if you have them.

Sounds to me a lot like the structure of a business meeting or a presentation as well — things you may have to attend for your jobs after college. So why not immerse yourself in the on-campus classes that give you so many more benefits than just what the course material can teach you?

I’d like to make it clear that I have nothing against online courses. I just think courses taken on campus can develop your skills better.

I’m currently taking an online course through a state college in the area. I needed it to fulfill a credit I took in high school that didn’t fully transfer to UND for what my major required.

My options were to take one semester of a biology course online or take two full semesters of anatomy and physiology on campus. Because the online option required less time to fulfill what I needed, it was pretty much a given.

However, as I am taking both online classes and on campus classes, I can’t help but notice the differences. Sure, the online course is nice because I can fit it into my schedule whenever I darn well please, but that’s really the only benefit over going to class in person.

I do enjoy the class I’m taking online, but my on-campus classes have given me so much more. Many of my friends and connections with professors and teaching staff have come from the interactions of everyday college campus classes.

If you have any interest in moral integrity, I would also mention to you that campus classes prevent more opportunities for open notes during exams, which in turn helps you to learn the material better.

If you’re lucky, and your online course doesn’t require proctors for exams and quizzes, what’s stopping you from using your textbook and Internet resources? Of course, I see the draw to that strategy, but you might be cheating yourself out of the education for which you’re paying.

Online courses are great in their own convenient aspect, however, they are more expensive than the already pricey college course. Nevertheless, in light of the social benefits and experiences on campus classes provide, it’s safe to say that, given the choice between on-campus and online classes, the decision should be obvious.

Mary Ochs is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].

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