I’m delighted with the online education revolution. Thanks to distance learning, more people are gaining access to a college education. Going back to school has become much simpler than it used to be.
However, students who are taking online courses need to know that, as the Washington Post recently reported, online classes are not as easy as many people think they will be!
Here’s the problem: online courses are a new phenomenon, so people don’t know what to expect. The online world is associated with fun, entertaining activities and social interaction. Thus, when students log on to that first online course, sometimes they have misconceptions that these courses are going to be a breeze. The lack of a teacher in the room also contributes to this sense of fun and freedom.
What students need to know is this: online courses often are more difficult than traditional classes! Why? For one thing, there’s absolutely no way to slide through an online class with little effort. In a traditional effort, students can sit in the back of the room and say nothing, blow off class, ignore assignments, and generally put as little of themselves into the course as they can. You can’t do that in an online class because the course requires for you to be there online and doing the work. Because online classes are self-directed, students have no choice but to do the work or fail.
Moreover, there’s the issue of self discipline. College students are sometimes shocked because there’s so much less hand-holding than in high school. In an online course, there’s even less hand-holding. It’s all your responsibility.
So don’t be fooled. Online classes have all kinds of advantages (and disadvantages, of course), but “easy” is not one of those advantages. If you take an online class, prepare to work hard.