Access To Online College Courses Can Speed Students’ Degree Completion

from Brookings

Online courses are an increasingly important part of students’ college experience, but how does this impact what students glean from their college experience? Trends toward online learning were evident even before the COVID-19 outbreak. For instance, more than 30% of all students enrolled at postsecondary institutions took at least one online course in the fall 2016 term.

Advocates of online education suggest that departments offering online courses can support their students through the ease of access to coursework; for example, internet-based learning can help students avoid scheduling conflicts and offer students greater flexibility to pursue outside activities, like working a part-time job. In addition, online courses are a cost-effective mode of offering college-level instruction for most universities. However, prior research indicates that students perform slightly worse and have lower course retention within online learning compared to traditional face-to-face classes.

More here.

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  1. The article posted on this blog post speaks on all of the benefits of online courses for college. In a previous comment, I spoke about how I preferred online learning over in-person learning. It was easier to manage my time, and I found myself performing better academically. Despite my personal opinion, and the argument the article makes, I would like to shed light on the disadvantages of online classes. I noticed the article did not speak much on the negative effects and outcomes of being online. Montgomery college gives us a list of disadvantages.
    One of them is having to be a self-learner. This means that you might have to teach yourself most of the material. Personally, I never had a problem with reading the text and understanding it on my own. On the other hand, I can see how people can struggle with this. If you don’t understand something, it’s harder to reach out and get answers. For a more challenging subject like math, self-teaching may be an issue. Having a traditional class makes it easier because you can just raise your hand and ask a question. If you are virtual, video calls don’t always happen, and there’s less opportunity to speak to the professor.
    Another problem is effort. When you are online, it’s easy to be lazy and procrastinate. Since you are not actually in the classroom, you can be easily distracted by other things, and not focused on the task at hand. If there is a class meeting, it’s easy to just join the meeting, and sleep through the professors lecturing. Discipline can be an issue, and it’s easy to forget assignments and not put in the work.
    The last problem I’ll speak on, which is not listed on the website, is cheating. This website explains more on the subject. When you are taking an exam at home, it is very easy to look at your phone and google the answers. If all of the students that are taking online courses do this, are they really learning the material? When you are in the classroom it’s more difficult to cheat, because of this, students learn the material more thoroughly. When you are online, students can blow off any studying, and just cheat comes the test.
    To conclude, there are a lot of negatives when it comes to learning online. In my opinion the positives outweigh the negatives. Like a said, I actually prefer online learning, but it’s good to address that it’s not for everyone, and well have to take the bad with the good. These problems should not be ignored, and we should try to resolve them if more students op for these types of courses.

  2. The article, “Acess to online college courses can speed student’s degree completion”, talks about how having online courses can be beneficial to college students. For students who want to complete their college degrees in a shorter period of time, they can switch from physical classes to virtual ones. Although online courses have been around for many years now, once the Covid pandemic began, virtual schooling became much more common in educational institutions. According to the article, over 30 percent of college students have taken an online course in the fall semester of 2016. I found these statistics to be surprising since there were many students who were already taking virtual courses even before the pandemic began. I was expecting there to be a much smaller portion of college students learning online. While there are many advantages to attending class virtually such as better time management, convenience, and affordability, working at home also has its own downsides. Studies of those who work full time from home suggest that at least 1 in 5 people feel socially isolated, and 3 in 10 of young adults frequently felt alone while working virtually. I think that attending class online for just one semester would be a great plan for students to get their classes finished quicker and also have a side job and more free time for themselves, however, having virtual courses for more than a year would not be beneficial to students as it would cause isolation and they wouldn’t be able to enjoy the college experience since they’re not physically on campus. In my opinion, a virtual education should only be a short-term option for students instead of earning their entire degree online.

  3. I believe that the article was very helpful when it came to beginning an advocate for doing online college courses because with our transition back to in-person. Students have gotten so online that they are willing to do that more than going to classes because I believe that yes, we had some stressors online, but we were able to have a life outside of school and go to more places because all we had to do was bring our computer with us. Which has made me even realize that I even like the fact that I had more free time to do what I want and still be focused on my schoolwork. The con I would have for online schooling is that I felt more stress and anxiety because I feel like I was not able to communicate with my peers or get to know like I wanted to do. According to gostrengths, “New research on well-being conducted by bestselling authors Tom Rath and Jim Harter, Ph.D., reveals that a robust sense of well-being requires six hours a day of social interaction.” If humans don’t get six hours of social, it can lead to problems such as depression and anxiety which I believe a lot of students went into while being virtual for almost two years. To me, online learning was an experience I would never forget but it also helped shape me a little bit because as we know it, we are going into more of a digital-based world that must do more with technology-based. Therefore, eventually, there was going to be a time where we would stop using paper and be more device efficient. However, the world is changing, and I believe that these colleges must change with it as well. I believe that some Professors don’t fully understand how stressful it is to try and transition back to regular life. I would say this past semester has made me cry the most. After all, I feel that I wasn’t able to keep up with the speed of my course because my mind is still trying to back on track from what I was starting to get used to which is the reason why believe that we should be able to take as many online courses just as much as in-person classes.

  4. The Covd-19 pandemic has forced the world to digitize at twice the pace it was going previously. Everything was shut down and online was the only means of communication for most people. Before the pandemic struck, I had never taken a fully online course. The pandemic then hit and I was forced to take all my classes online and it was terrible. At first it was difficult to adapt so quickly to the change of online classes, but after some time I started getting used to it. I started seeing why there were advocates for taking online classes. The flexibility of online classes were very useful. I could take the class wherever and whenever. Online classes were great for a while, until I got a little too carried away with the flexibility of it. I started getting side tracked and forgetful of my course work. I would work hours upon hours at my job at the time, and completely disregard my course work. It felt as if I was not even attending college.
    Personally, I felt as if I had wasted my money taking classes online. I pay thousands of dollars of tuition to obtain the knowledge from a higher education institute. I did not pay thousands of dollars to sit in front of my computer all day watching netflix, while scarcely listening to the professor. Luckily they were general education courses which were pretty straightforward, but if they were more intricate and vital courses for my line of profession, I would be severely underprepared for my profession. It was very difficult for me to retain the information through zoom calls, especially when the professor would have technical difficulties. Besides the retention of the course, taking online classes I felt as if I was missing out on the college experience. The connections one makes in college are, at times, worth more than the knowledge offered at the institute. Taking online classes is not worth the money in my opinion, however I understand why people would prefer courses online rather than on campus.

  5. Online education enrollment is going to keep increasing especially after the Covid-19 outbreak. I did not know that more than 30% of students enrolled at institutions took at least one online class in the fall 2016 term. That was years before the pandemic and was before many schools had an effective online learning atmosphere. I just transferred to Seton Hall this semester from the University of Maryland, and they were not prepared to start remote learning. One of their satellite campuses has been fully online since it opened, so if anyone wants to take a class online in the summer or winter usually they sign up with that campus. I remember in the spring of 2020 how the rumors of everyone being sent home for the semester started, and teachers were flustered because there was almost no remote capabilities besides the app we used to see due dates. However, once they set up zoom throughout the university, the classes were very similar in person, some being more difficult than others.
    One thing I noticed taking online classes is that when the class is asynchronous, students are less likely to interact with the teacher and other students. I took some of these classes and it was convenient for scheduling and my time management. It was all laid out from the start of the class, the two readings or assignments for the week and hand them in by Sunday. If I was a student working part or full time, this would be a great option because it allows me to do the work on my own time and still grasp the material if I choose to do so. I did notice that I would pay less attention to these classes because I could dedicate one day a week to finish all the work for the class, and then not have to look at it again until the following week. I realized this habit and made an effort to take online classes that had meeting times and the normal class structure.
    Online classes can definitely help students speed up degree completion because of the flexibility it allows for someone’s schedule. There are often no set meeting times and if you complete the work by the due date, your grade will reflect that. This could open up a window for adults that did not get to complete their degree to take online classes at their own discretion, without scheduled meeting times that would affect their work schedule.

  6. Access to online college courses was very essential during the commencement of the Covid-19 pandemic when we were challenged with a deadly virus. At that time, I was still in high school and at the beginning, the concept of online education was very friendly. The district allowed classes to start a few hours than normal and set fewer restrictions on their curriculums. It was a very relaxing break for a few months with limited work and teachers easing off because of concern about the virus. The assignments were to a certain extent unchallenging unlike before and many final exams were canceled. We were presented with a lot more leniency than wasn’t existent prior. Eventually, though, this had an effect on the daily routines and habits of students. Some students would turn their cameras off during class and be focused on other activities such as video games and movies. Many students including myself entered into a lazy every day pattern of being quarantined that wouldn’t seem to end. The Covid-19 pandemic had a huge impact on students’ academic and mental well-being. According to a new study conducted by, it suggests that the coronavirus will undo months of academic gains, leaving many students behind. This can be due to the fact that teachers couldn’t coordinate face-to-face interactions with their students which is necessary to learn new material. In addition, many students living in poverty will have trouble completing homework assignments because they don’t have a reliable internet connection. This would have had a huge effect, especially on younger children when they have to learn basic reading, writing, and math skills. Access to online college courses can provide more flexibility, but the retention of material grasped throughout the four years will be drastically lower. Furthermore, the college environment and face to face classes are more effective in having a successful class. Access to online education is very useful and accommodating for students that have schedule conflicts or have other commitments, but for full time students, I believe that in person schooling is the most efficient way.

  7. Online college courses surely are a great advantage for students all around the world, but as the article states, there is a need to perfect this way of learning so it can be as effective as traditional in-person courses. Yes, online courses give the possibility to more people to access a college education. However, it doesn’t make sense for universities to offer a course that can be accessed online if this course doesn’t meet the same quality standards as the one that has been taught in person for a lot of years. Certainly, this is not just a one-sided problem, it involves the institutional education and the prospective student or current student as well. On one side, the college should do a deep investigation to find a way so online courses provide the same educational quality as any other course while giving the chance to people to have a more accessible and effective way of learning. On the other side, future students must have the capacity to give an online course the same importance as any other course. People who enter online courses do so to be able to study and have more time to do other things such as having a job. This can cause people to give a higher priority to their work and leave studying aside. People are just looking to get the degree certificate regardless of what their real learning has been. For online graduate students to graduate as successfully and with the same learning skills and knowledge as full-time in-person students, potential students need to assure the university that their primary priority is going to be studying. If both parties meet these requirements, online college courses may become more in demand, since they offer a learning experience that is equal to that of traditional in-person education, but will be much easier to access and be more effective.

  8. I believe in the society we live in today, technology is used for everything all across the world. With the Global pandemic that is happening across the world with being forced to quarentine in our home, we were forced to adapt. The pandemic forced us to do everything virtual such as meetings and school. We adjusted to using technology and having virtual meeting rather than have to travel in person. It is a big change in the world, but has been a big help for everyone. I believe colleges should allow online courses because its a new part of the world and future. People are going to take advantage of having technology in their favor so having online classes will be a good idea for some who have a busy schedule and rather be at their home taking classes. I do believe it should be optional and classes to still be held in person because of some like being in person better and the experience of being in school. Its also a lot of money, so some will rather be in person for the amount of money they are paying.

  9. The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the world and set mankind forward at least 10 years. One side effect of this pandemic is that colleges and universities have begun to shift toward hybrid, and all remote learning. The shift toward to remote education was bound to happen in the future, but its prevalence though out the globe has accelerated drastically due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Remote learning has become accepted as a new normal for many college students, weather they like it or not. However, remote learning has existed prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was not as commonplace as it is today, but it was starting to become an alternative form of education for many students in higher education.
    Online courses have countless benefits, and I believe that these benefits will encourage Colleges and Universities around the world to have more online classes. Online courses all students to have more flexibility in their schedule. If a student commutes to a college campus, they may have a long commute which takes time out of their day. This lost time spent driving to school or taking another form of transportation can be regained if a student has online classes. By taking just one or two of a semesters’ classes online, students gain more time to complete their work and other extracurricular activities. These students may be able to avoid a long commute to campus for 2 of the 5 days which they have their classes scheduled. Gaining time back during the weak allows students to boost their grades, actually spend time learning their classes material, in addition to getting involved in work experience.
    Students involved in higher education always have the problem of having an incredible amount of work to complete in a short amount of time. By regaining time in one’s schedule, they can actually spend time understanding the nuances of their classes material instead of just grasping a general idea of what topics are being covered. Online learning definitely helped me regain more time in my schedule and had helped me become a better student during the Covid-19 pandemic. I was forced to become more independent and self-reliant during my online classes. This was instrumental in helping me grow up and transition from being a high schooler to a college student.
    As I previously mentioned, online classes allow students to have an opportunity to work a job or become part of an organization as they have more flexibility in their schedule. These experiences are great ways for students to begin to grow their resume, network, and learn professional skills which can be applied to their future career. Having a part time job also allows student to make some money, which can help them avoid going deeper into student loan debt.
    There are some down sides to 100% remote learning. These include feeling disconnected from school, losing a sense of a classroom community, and having fewer social interactions with classmates. These side effects make it harder for students to make more new friends in college. However, if higher education is only partially online, then it is extremely advantageous for students to pursue a few online classes during their time at a college or university.

  10. Due to the pandemic and its effects on society, means of education have become virtual. This forced students around the world to attend their classes online within the comfort of their home. For many, this process was great within the first few months of the pandemic. However, students realized just how detached they were from the classroom and their friends at school. With all hope lost for returning into a normal face-to-face classroom, many students performed very poorly due to virtual education. This can be credited to distractions at home, as well as a general disconnection to the class and its contents. Today, as society is recovering to the downfalls of the pandemic, many students are returning to in-person classes. Still, some choose to continue their academic career on the face of a laptop or computer.
    To me this is both disgraceful and upsetting. Despite the benefits of virtual education that the article provides, I feel as if school is met to be attended in person and only in person, especially when the topic of college education is discussed. To me, I feel very disconnected and apathetic with my experiences of virtual schooling. I also felt as if I looked for shortcuts in my education more than I would in person. This can be considered for almost all the students that have taken part in online education. With this being said, I believe that college education should only be allowed to take place in a real-world environment. This is because students are proven to both retain information and generally perform better in normal classroom setting, while having the ability (most of the time obligation) to practice their social skills. This leads me to believe that college students who only take courses online, will eventually lack the social skills required in the work force. This would eventually lead to an influx of college students leaving school and entering their field of work with little to no communications skills. This is a compounding effect on society. I just finished a Course blog explaining the need for networking and communication in life. With online schooling, a student is completely disconnected from other students going to school for the same purpose. This leads the student to receive no help or support from their fellow classmates, both within the time the course is taken, as well as the future applications one may use when referring back to classmates for help.
    In conclusion, technology can benefit many different aspects of our everyday lives but should not be used for means of education. This is because of the priceless lessons we learn outside of the curriculum that cannot be learned through virtual learning. Simply put, when virtual schooling is normalized, people become very disconnected to the rest of society.

  11. Although I understand the idea of speeding up the degrees, I see more problems than positive things coming with that. First of all, there is no need to speed up something that important and impactful on the formation of students and people. This idea of needing to do everything as quickly as possible and rushing day in and day out is affecting people’s mental health, especially with social media when teenagers see other people’s lives and think they are behind and have existential crisis, leading to potential suicide. The focus should always be on quality and learning instead of speeding up.
    Online learning takes away the quality of learning and diminishes potential professor influences on people. I experienced one year and a half of full remote learning and I was not able to learn as much as if I was in person. The remote experience allows people to be very distracted and cheat easily in tests and homework, which leads to a lack of motivation to actually learn. Students are more and more thinking about short-term benefits of getting the good grades and less about the long-term of learning the topics and contents.
    The last paragraph brings the idea of grades, which is another problem in the online system. Because of the pressure for getting good grades, the students are willing to not learn and get that grade instead of the opposite, and that happens because parents and professors firstly talk about the grades, not about what was learned.
    To conclude, I believe is important to present a counter-argument, which is in agreement with the effectivity of remote learning. Students who enroll in remote learning can be in different courses and universities at the same time, as they don’t need to worry about the logistics time loss, being more time effective. In the ideal world, people would learn and focus on learning, while being time effective, but the mental health issues in society are not favoring that.

  12. As a college student I am all for online courses because of how convenient it is. Since my first year of college was completely online and I did not have the option of going in person. I can definitely say it is easier than having in person classes which is why most students will have chosen online courses. The fact that I was able to be in the comfort of my own home or any area an take them made it extremely easy to attend. I was also able to still work a full-time and create a schedule that suited my needs. As stated in the article, “In addition, online courses are a cost-effective mode of offering college-level instruction for most universities.” This really stood out to me because college is already quit expensive and if there is anyway to receive the education in a less costly way it’ll definitely be an option for most if not all college students.

  13. Ever since the pandemic has hit the United States it has changed for good. A huge change that it has made on us is that the United States has changed to a semi-virtual setting including online college courses. These online college courses can help students get their degrees faster and quicker. You might be wondering how online classes can help students get their degrees faster. This movement is starting to become important because more than three out of ten students that are enrolled into college took at least one online course including me. Last semester I took Journey of Transformation online. Online courses help students get their degrees faster because advocates believe that it is easier for students, it helps set up college students for the future, and studies have shown that it has helped students get their degrees faster.

  14. Online school has become one of the fastest growing topics over the past couple of years because of all of the use it has gotten. Online school has become a part of most colleges in America and jobs are now starting to accept the education because it has become a part of some of the most important years of education. There are a lot of benefits to online school, for starters it gives students a very flexible schedule. This applies to college students more than anyone else. If a class is asynchronous, it means that the student can complete a certain amount of work before a deadline and still receive credit for the course without ever having to go through the hassle of commuting and stepping foot in a classroom. This allows for students to do other things such as get a partime job or get an internship while in school. Students not having to commute is a benefit to a lot of people as well. The cost of college is already high enough for most and having to pay the cost of traveling to school can put certain people over the edge, to a point where they decide that maybe higher education is not for them. Students having an asynchronous class means that they have the ability to work at their own pace. Some students are slower than the average student and there are some that work faster. All people know that there are certain parts of the day that they work better. Some students work best early in the morning and they like to complete their work at 8am. There are others that do it after lunch at 1pm and that their best work. All people are unique and forcing people to cram themselves into a time slot for a class that they know they will struggle working in is sometimes not fair. Lastly students can pick an environment that works best for them. They can play music if they would like to, where in a classroom is typically not allowed, or others like to work outside. Students can change these types of factors learning during online school. But with the benefits there are always drawbacks, if students are not monitored during exams they can cheat which means they are not learning thus defeating the entire purpose of going to school. Another one is that as stated in the article students do not always learn best when online. Sometimes students need that personal connection and being pushed by the peers around them can help and build comradery. To conclude the best fit is a mixture of both online and in person classes that can help students learn best

  15. This was a very interesting article which covered some of the positives and negatives to an online college education. One initial fact that I was unaware of was that in 2016 30% of college students had taken at least one course online. I was under the impression that the COVID pandemic was essentially the start of online classes, but this is clearly not true. The author details how in terms of material retention, face to face lessons are going to be more effective than online classes. This is something that I have personally experienced because when classes are online, there are more distractions available and most people including myself are less likely to be engaged in the lesson. In person is different because you are physically with you professor and classmates and therefore can engage with them in a more human way. One of the advantages to online classes is that it allows students to take classes that they may have been unable to previously. Scheduling conflicts are more common with in person classes especially since some online courses are asynchronous. This allows students who have a lot on their plate to be able to take the classes the want and possibly to take more credits. When I was taking online classes during the pandemic, I was able to work many more hours at my job than I do now that everything is fully in person for me. While I recognize the benefits that online classes have depending on individual circumstances, in person will always be my preferred way of learning.

  16. Being a student who started my college career during the COVID-19 pandemic, I can relate to what this article is speaking on regarding online courses. As I graduated high school in May of 2020, I witnessed and experienced classes switching to going virtual during the last few months of the school year. This was obviously a huge change for students across the country and although my grades did not suffer, this period of time was not what I was expecting to have during graduation. During the summer before I started my time at Seton Hall was filled with questions as well as concerns about how my first year at Seton Hall would go. As the COVID-19 pandemic stretched through my whole freshman year as well as some of my sophomore year, I had no choice but the take my classes virtually on Teams and Zoom. This was a big adjustment for me as I prefer to be learning and attending classes in person in the classroom. I feel as if I learn better in this setting because there are less distractions as well as being able to solely focus on the material in front me. I realize some people preferred online classes because of how convenient it is to just open your laptop and not have to get ready in the morning, but in regard to the level of learning and student development, in person classes would be more beneficial. I personally would not advocate for college courses, or classes in general, to go online because I feel like results would improve if students were in person. Additionally, during the pandemic many classes moved to virtual learning, which is understandable, but the prices of these courses stayed the same and in some cases even became more expensive. Many believe that since there are many aspects of learning that are not in play anymore, the price of courses should decrease because the he quality has arguably decreased. I agree with this thinking because schools did not have to pay for facilities as well as many other aspects of in person learning, so in return the prices of classes should have decreased with it. In regard to the speed of degree completion, I can see how this change could possibly speed up the process due to classes being “easier” to take. Meaning, you take attend class essentially anywhere and that allows people to fit classes into their schedule at ease.

  17. During the pandemic, colleges relied on online platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Blackboard Learn to continue teaching classes virtually. Now, with more online platforms becoming more advanced, colleges are offering students a greater number of online courses, which can speed up students’ degree completion. According to Brookings, more than 30% of students took at least one online course in the fall 2016 term. With the pandemic and people becoming lazier, I can imagine that more than 60% of students have taken at least one online course in the 2021-2022 academic year. During the fall 2022 term, I did not take a traditional online course. I took one hybrid class and one asynchronous class, however, I never had to join an online meeting at a certain time. Assignments were posted and I completed them on my own time. I do find the appeal of taking online courses over in-person courses, especially from a commuter point of view. Living close to forty minutes away from college makes it difficult to get to class sometimes, which is why I would prefer to take online courses if I was given the opportunity to. Additionally, as the article mentioned, online learning creates greater flexibility for students to pursue outside activities, like working a part-time job.

    Another benefit of online learning is that celebrities or influencers are still able to obtain their degree without getting harassed or targeted for their popularity or social media following in in-person classes. A few months ago, news broke out that the actress Millie Bobby Brown is attending Purdue University, however, she is only taking courses online. Despite the positives, there are negatives to online courses. Research has shown that students perform slightly worse in online courses compared to in-person classes. When I was virtual for my junior year of high school, I did see a decline in my grades, work ethic, and retention. It is very easy for students can get distracted during online learning because no one but themselves can force them to get off their phones. In an in-person setting, it is easier to feel ashamed of not paying attention to your professor because they are teaching directly in front of you. Overall, students should be choosing courses based on the best learning environment for them instead of choosing courses that will allow them to graduate college one semester earlier.

  18. After being in college for a year-and-a-half a lot of the ways that I complete class work and have things set up like my schedule has changed drastically. Something like waiting on professors to announce assignments or materials that we need have been detrimental to the way that I’m learning in college. Having the expectation that something like this would be easy was also a knock on me but having materials readily available with a select few professors made my life and there’s so much easier because everything was there for me to see what I needed to complete. With something like an online class you can tend to forget what is needed or you could miss assignments just based off of the fact that you are not in person I know different types of people struggle with different things when it comes to the way that they learn but having to learn virtually for the ear with something that nobody liked and I could feel myself falling behind. Covid relief ramped up the pace of digitizing everything that we needed because before it was based on how the professor wanted it to be set up in the first place. Even though it is the 21st century there were still people that were against having things online where it could be easy to turn in and have. Having courses that online have its benefits but in combination with learning in person is probably the best thing possible for students it gives choices of how we do things in the classroom which is severely needed.

  19. This article was very interesting to me. It covered some of the positives and negatives of online college education. In 2016 about 30% of college students have taken one online college course. I honestly was surprised when reading this because I thought this number would be so much lower. Honestly, I have yet to take an online college course yet. I have only had a couple of zoom meetings because my teachers could not make it to class. Even on those days we proceeded as a regular class but the professor just lectures the whole class and there is no discussion. I have also realized that COVID did not start online classes considering the statement above from the article. COVID just made them better and more efficient most likely. I agree with the author’s statement that face-to-face classes are more effective and efficient than online classes. I have a really hard time concentrating on online classes because I am home. I have my Xbox, TV, computer, and phone. I was in high school when this happened, but I am sure it was the same way in college. Teachers and Professors also take classes less seriously because they feel that there is a barrier and there is nothing they can do. The biggest and I think only positive to online classes is that they fix scheduling issues. So when the school is closed because of the weather, teachers can still hold class that day. Even if the teacher is sick, or the student is sick there can be an online class. It also allows students to take more credits over breaks. They can stay home with their families while also working towards their degrees. Even with the positives I still prefer the face-to-face classes because they are more engaging and teachers try more.

  20. Recently, I began to take an online course for my own enrichment on the Coursera platform. I was surprised to find that Berklee College, one of the premier colleges for music and the arts, was offering a free music theory course. I was convinced by this, and many other free courses that were offered on the catalog, that the online platform has revolutionized the education and informative experience. Although achieving an online degree was at one point somewhat frowned upon in favor of a traditional in-person experience, many students were forced by the COVID pandemic to take courses online. Though the most recent weeks of the online education experience were shaky and unproductive, it is clear now that digital education has integrated itself almost seamlessly with the school system. Eyebrows were raised, however, when the retention of the students that took online courses was examined. They were worse than students taking their physical counterparts, but that is to be expected when using such an early version of digitally-enhanced education. The results that come from online courses can only go up with developments in technology. Even at Seton Hall, the online platform has assisted many students with a timely completion of their degree. Many institutions offer courses between semesters that are on a digital platform – this aids students that want to get more credits with an accessible and increasingly affordable option to do so. Perhaps what lies in the future is not a purely digital version of education, but a seamless hybrid one that combines the strengths of a digital platform (accessibility, versatility, and potential to grow) and a physical one (engagement, focus, interaction). To be put off by online learning’s retention problem is to be concerned with a temporary issue. As developers of online opportunities adapt, so do the students using such services. The results of online learning are only inferior because the potential of the platform and its learners has not yet been reached. It is unrealistic to think that a method of learning that has barely emerged in the last few decades can compete with a style of learning that dates back to the earliest days of man. Soon, that method will infiltrate the supposedly “tried and true” manner of education and revolutionize education for generations to come.

  21. Prior to reading this article, I didn’t realize there were some benefits associated with online learning. Personally, when I was required to take online classes during the entirety of my junior year in high school, it did more harm than good. Yes, I still received very good grades throughout the school year, however, the quality of my education largely declined. Particularly, and many can contest to this, nothing of note was ever truly gained due to the remote environment. Teachers constantly lectured about topics, people rarely participated, and there were even technology issues at times that would interfere with the class. Furthermore, the lack of social interactions with others as opposed to in-person instruction hindered my experience as well.
    Nevertheless, this article suggests that, despite its flaws, online learning can be very valuable for students. According to a study published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, online courses are associated with more efficient college graduation. Specifically, students given the opportunity to take online courses graduated sooner then those offered fewer online classes. Notably, these opportunities allowed students to enroll in courses that were perhaps inaccessible to them due to scheduling constraints or because in-person instruction for said class was not offered in the same term. Thus, online courses are key for a student’s long-term academic success. Nonetheless, the article does highlight that more research is needed regarding how to design high quality course environments and how to combine face-to-face and online opportunities.
    While I’ve had a bad experience with online instruction, one cannot ignore the benefits that have been found as well. Particularly, the article makes it clear how useful online courses can be in terms of a student’s long-term academic success when in-person instruction is not available. Thus, this leads to students being able to graduate more quickly as opposed to other students who weren’t offered these online opportunities. However, the remote environment surrounding these online courses are still in need of some fine tuning. In short, it is evident that online instruction can provide many benefits for college students, however, there is still much that can be improved upon in order to enhance the environment of said courses.

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