Stick to tradition

Traditional classes are better for learning than the online alternative

By Dylan Randolph, Editor-in-Chief

College provides students with hundreds of opportunities they were never able to take advantage of during their high school experience such as reign of picking their classes, what instructor they want and what time they want to take their classes. One option that most colleges offer their students in today’s world is the option to choose whether they want to earn the credit with the traditional in class setting or taking the class online. While an online education sounds compelling with its flexibility and ability to move ahead, there are many trade-offs to online classes that many may not see.

Dylan's column photo_skilledup.com

Traditional classes provide a more reliable environment for students compared to the online alternative. (Image from skilledup.com)

One of the major issues that online classes offer is that if a student has a question regarding the content the instructor is oftentimes difficult to get a hold of. Instructors provide their email and even phone numbers for students to utilize while participating in their course however, there have been many occurrences with students not being able to get ahold of their instructors when there has been an issue with content during the course. The anonymous student told a story of having an issue with an activity being submitted automatically before the student was finished it. When the student emailed the teacher, she received no response even after the deadline of the assignment. Worrying that they would fail the course because of the error, the student withdrew from the course; it was then that the teacher emailed the student back regarding the assignment. Whether this was a lack of responsibility of the teacher or an error in technology, it could have been avoided if the student would have simply taken the class in person. Online classes provide stability for the student because the student does not know when the instructor will log onto their computer to check any emails, questions or assignments.

Another aspect that is extremely inconvenient in taking classes online is the software that is required for the class to be taken. Students cannot find out what software that may be required of their class until after the syllabus has been released on Blackboard. Students who can afford higher end laptops have nothing to worry about because those versions can download Adobe and JavaScript programs without any issue.

However, students who can only afford lower grade laptops such as Google Chromebooks will have difficulty completing certain activities that require the programs previously listed. This is extremely insensitive to students who are not as economically privileged as others. In a traditional classroom setting, if a student cannot obtain certain learning materials because of financial issues they can talk to their instructor about an alternative route for the assignments. If a student is in a traditional classroom setting, they can have access to the campus’ computer labs. However, if a student is taking an online class, they can be extremely limited to access of up to date technology.

One of the most important aspects of traditional classes that online classes do not have is that they are reliable. Online classes are great for those who excel with time management, but for students who live a busy schedule working multiple jobs and going to school full time. In traditional classrooms most teachers give students the ability to work on assignments or at the very least give them an advanced notice on when an assignment is due. With online classes, everyone is taking the class at their own pace which means it would be extremely difficult to coordinate with others in the class if one has a question.

In traditional classes, one can see if they want to work with someone else based on personality, work ethic and attendance, which in online classes is all unknown. In online classes, all the students really get to see of each other is their names, not who they are as a student or as a person. Not to mention, one can typically be assured that they will meet for class, but with online classes if someone does not have internet access then they are out of luck on working on an assignment until they do have access.

It is clear that if someone is looking for reliability then they should not use the alternative route to take classes. With traditional settings, one can learn more in greater hands setting, rather than looking a computer screen for information. If one has a problem with something in a traditional learning environment, they will be able to face it head on, rather than hoping for a piece of equipment to work properly.