Thoughts about online classes :

U-News Staff

Commuter students need flexibility:

UMKC is primarily a commuter campus and making the drive can be extremely grueling at times. Not many students jump up and down with excitement at the thought of having to get out of his or hercomfy beds and head to class. Not to mention morning traffic or the constant fear of dying when the solid ice roads are not a valid excuse for a snow day.

These problems could be solved by enrolling in online classes. Virtual coursesare available at the student’s convenience, so a trip to campus is not required.

Classes taken online can be completed at the student’s preferred pace. For example, I knocked out a three-credit philosophy class in a month, This was not because the content was easy but because I did everything on my owntime. On occasion, my attention span is equivalent to a five year old and sitting in class for hours can seem pointless and tiresome. Sometimes I even attempt to complete that days assignment or reading while the teacher is lecturing. This could sound conceited, but not all professors teach the way I learn. With online classes, I am able to essentially teach myself the way I prefer.

It’s not as though online courses are entirely devoid of a professor.. There’s a thing called email and professors usually check inboxes on a regular basis. . If a student has a question about an assignment, the professor is only an email away. Some online professors even have office hours for students who prefer face-to-face interaction.

Overall education is ultimately up to the student. Individuals may take as much or as little out of online classes as desired. Certain classes may be more difficult to grasp without daily lectures, but if a student can succeed if determined to do so . There is no difference between online performance and classroom performance. If a student chooses to continually skip class sessions , chances for failure is higher than those with a motivation to succeed. Online classes require more motivation, but still revolve around the same general concept.

Not all courses are meant to be offered online. For instance, taking an online foreign language is a bad idea. I attempted Latin online. That lasted about a week because it was hard to grasp a subject I previously knew  nothing about. General education requirements typically seem possible  to knock out online, allowing more time to focus on harder material . Taking 18 credit hours in a previous semester seemed like no big deal when I only had to truly focus on 15.

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Conceptualizing online education?

I am not writing  to completely bash online classes. One can conduct a simple virtual search for a two-sided debate about taking online classes.

My insight and perspective about the increasing avenues for students to take online classes as an international student is generally different. Since UMKC is primarily a commuter campus, I appreciate the convenience offered by taking online courses.

However, even  in theory, you should be able to learn the same materials in the elements which make you comfortable; the argument  is there is nothing that beats having  personalized attention  in a classroom.

This is where my inability to conceptualize online classes begins.

As an international student from the Asia-Pacific region, I grew up in the British Education system where everything needed to be memorized and regurgitated verbatim. Thus, memorizing a bunch of facts for the sake of getting an “A” in  class was the status quo.

Through this system, the importance of having a teacher as a guide to ensure that you are memorizing the right details essential to your educational success.

This personalized attention from teachers is ingrained in my educational background. And although vastly different in approach, the education system  in the United States of America is very much the same in guiding principles.

I have found the American style of education, where excellence in education is derived from  ones ability to grasp concepts in context, is further enabled by a professors’ tutelage.

When bringing in online classes and a rising amount of students willing to grasp concepts on their own, the independence of those students is a completely foreign idea to me.

Although I know that sometimes this is not by choice but rather by design, I struggle to find validreasons to pay  for an educational experience that includes a faceless professor talking to me over the digital domain, when I can pay for the same three-credit hours to have someone physically standing in front of me explaining what I need to take out of the course.

Furthermore, the rapid rise of free online classes, through mediums like Coursera, a social entrepreneurship company which establishes partnerships with internationally renowned universities, spearheading a modern educational trend for independent learning.

This emerging alternative in non-personalized education leads me to believe that education is now at a crossroads of a classic battle: teachers versus students. The weapon of choice: mediums of education-traditional or digital?

Both achieve the same objective. Both require the same amount of time commitment. The final consideration is this: should I pay  to hear someone educate me in person or from the speakers and screen of my personal computer.

If someone can afford to give something away for free,  it probably isn’t worth investing in. Call me traditional, but I will stick to those whom have educated me best in person and refrain  from paying to read from and listen to a computer screen to learn.

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