Are online classes ready to become the main way people learn?

Most online classes are organized through Saddleback College’s online sector.

By: Sam Giacobello | Writer

October 25, 2018

As online classes are becoming more and more accessible and convenient, many students are turning digital for a few, or in some cases all, of their high school classes. However, this shift raises many questions about whether the rigor of an online class should be seen as equal to a traditional classroom setting. Many argue that students can easily search for answers and be academically dishonest with online work, but nonetheless online credits still count just as much as in-class courses. So if online classes are available, we might as well move on to the positives and negatives of the concept.

The major benefit of online classes is that it gives students a much more flexible schedule and workload, as many classes allow students to work ahead or at their own pace to complete assignments as long as they meet basic deadlines. Whether it be doing a little each day or everything at once, students have the choice to do a class their own way to some extent. In addition, learning online gives students a chance to understand materials as much as they need to, while in traditional classroom settings there are issues with teachers moving too fast or too slow for students of different academic levels.

“I like online classes because I can look back at lessons that I didn’t really understand,” sophomore Aidan Giacobello said. “In other classes it can be hard to ask the teacher to slow down and explain an idea without being judged.”

However, with the many positives of online classes come a list of disadvantages that push students away from going digital. With the lack of a set schedule comes a lack of accountability to actually try to understand the class and get work done when it is assigned. Online classes are usually not taken seriously because they don’t seem like what students know as school. Further, students enrolled in one or more online classes are missing a real teacher that is available at all times.

“I don’t like online classes because I learn better with a teacher who is constantly there to help me and motivate me in person,” senior Rhiannon Yanda said.

Teachers give students motivation to learn and help their improvement, and without a real teacher in person, school isn’t quite the same. Most online classes will have a teacher or an adviser, but the only way to contact them is usually through email or discussion boards. If that changed, however, maybe online classes could play the role they are meant to and provide an education comparable to that of a traditional course.

Online classes represent the future of efficient learning in the new technological age, but until certain parts of the idea are improved it is probably best to keep most learning in a physical classroom rather than a digital one.

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