Online Classes – Are They Right for You?

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As a college student, you have choices. As you prepare for a quarter, you become aware of the classes you need to take. Whether its English or Biology, colleges offer face-to-face (regular, in class), hybrid (half the material in class while the rest online), or full online classes.  There is a choice to suit any kind of students. The problem is figuring what kind of student you are.

To grab more information, I began doing a survey around Edmonds Community College, I got data from a total of 40 students. Many students said things similar to Elijah Bruington, who said “Even though I work, I prefer face-to-face [classes] because I enjoy being physically there, and it’s easier to ask questions. As anyone else, I am not the most self-disciplined person so online classes aren’t the best fit for me.”

Gabbie Perrine who said something similar, also added, “It forces me to have a routine. I have taken online classes but they don’t ensure me the same success.” Or in other words, Amanda Arthur said, “It helps me not procrastinate.”

Out of these 40 students, who range from 17 to 61 years old, only three replied that they prefer online classes. Mickayla Meyller, who is a Running Start student, said she prefers online classes because that means she doesn’t have to go to Edcc campus all the time.

50 year old, Catherine Bishop agreed to the information Meyller provided. She also added that it was just easier to do the work wherever.

Kyle Zeller said that it was his first quarter having an online class and he liked it a lot. “I can just come to the library and get a room with a bunch of friends, while we all work on our own work.”

Many students also replied something along the lines of what Mariah Travis said, which was, “I work so I like hybrid classes. These classes make me have a mixture of online and face-to-face experience.”

When speaking to former teacher, Lourdes Gutierrez, she said that the online classes always fill up quickly, and even though many drop the class, there is almost always a waitlist. Even though it’s similar for face-to-face classes, she stated that the dropping rates for online classes are higher (10-20 percent). She added that in a regular class, there are 30-35 students while for an online class, the average is 24. Even though this isn’t controlled by students or teachers, but by the school, it could indicate why there is a higher rate of waitlist for online classes.

Gutierrez goes on to explain that as a teacher, she does include much more material in her online classes which is basically more reading and discussions. She explains that it’s because in her face-to-face classes, she does more oral teaching and describing the material while she cannot do that in her online classes.

As a teacher, she identifies herself with the students. She likes to have a balance of classes that she teaches each quarter. She needs human interaction which is provided by a face-to-face class. In other words she also said that she would go insane with all online classes and being in front of a computer all the time.

Professor Hillary Kemp was also eager to speak about her experiences with teaching. She concluded that she is more comfortable teaching face-to-face classes. Where Gutierrez said, “I’ve been teaching for 13 years but have only been teaching online for 10. However, online classes have become a great phenomenon within only the three last years.”

While speaking to Kemp, she touched a subject that is very true, even when messaging a friend. “It’s easier to accidentally upset or offend a student. I think text based/online communication fosters a kind of disconnection from humanity. I and my students have to work harder to communicate and connect. It’s easier to accidently misunderstand someone when you don’t have body language and eye contact to clarify your meaning. I have succeeded learning everyone’s name and story in a regular class but haven’t so well in my online classes. This is a long-term goal.”

Another challenge with online classes that she highlighted has to do with exams. She stated that cheating on tests is an absolute certainty that happens in online classes. On the other hand, this could be why students get into online classes, thinking it’ll be easier.  Gutierrez agreed and said that some teachers do the Proctored test which is when an online class meets for exams. Kemp added that it would be great to see how technology develops into helping with this matter. Another suggestion she said was to make tests harder, or do open book tests for everyone, or have a test that grabs the information that a student learned throughout the quarter.

Tina Torres provided the information of how many face-to-face or online classes there have been. In fall quarter of 2017, there were 171 online and 996 face-to-face classes provided. Then in winter quarter of 2018, there were 179 online and 959 face-to-face classes.

This data shows that even though there are a lot of online classes, there are even more face-to-face classes provided. This makes face-to-face classes prominent. Students like Maria Vaskotcova said “I haven’t taken online classes because I feel more comfortable in a regular class. But that doesn’t mean I won’t take online classes someday.”

There is something for everyone, but sometimes people don’t know what suits them. Online classes are a great resource provided for students with busy schedules or work. With technology advances, many people are trying online classes out. But sometimes it’s not the best choice. From speaking to many students, the key is to have a balance of classes. Online classes aren’t bad, but many agree that they do poorly in these types of classes. To ensure your academic success, you should consider what type of class is really the best for their lifestyle.