By Ashley Harrison
Online colleges and universities and online classes have become an increasingly popular alternative to a traditional classroom education. The flexibility of online classes is one reason students may opt for an online education.
In some cases students are working full time or have families, making a traditional education inconvenient or nearly impossible. With so many students leaving the traditional classroom setting and opting for online or distance education, a major question arises: are online classes as effective as traditional lecture classes?
Online classes often require the student to have the same textbooks as traditional classes and educators generally post videos of their lectures on popular video streaming sites such as YouTube. However, it does not replace the classroom especially when a college education is the student’s goal.
While educators may enter the classroom knowing what the day’s lecture will be, some days it may take a completely different direction. Students ask questions that the educator may not have anticipated. This may trigger a profound class discussion or even a class debate. However, a scenario such as this is not possible in an online class.
Student interaction is also an important factor when truly defining a college education. Learning to communicate effectively with individuals from different backgrounds cannot be learn by sitting behind a computer screen.
A student in class may have a different opinion on the subject being discussed. Students who opted for an online education miss out on interacting with other students and hearing their point of view.
Most employers are not biased towards hiring a student with an online degree over students with a traditional degree. Many employers do hire students with online degrees. To many individuals a degree is a degree.
It’s possible that a degree or certain certification is all a student wishes to obtain. However many students will lose out on the full college experience just by doing that. While some employers may just be looking for certification, many employers are looking for much more.
Upon hiring someone an employer may take into consideration the skills an individual learned in college, such as the ability to work well with others, deal with individuals of diverse backgrounds, and problem solving skills.
When a student opts for an online degree they are taking away a portion of their marketability. A student may have the certification but did not necessarily obtain all the skills necessary for certain positions.
Classroom conversation, intense debates, interacting with students from different backgrounds, and hearing the opinions of other students are all important factors in receiving a higher education.
It is true that some students opt for an online education to get out and get into the work force.
Some students may find that an online education more convenient and in some cases it may be. For many students with children and full-time jobs, an online education is the only type of education they can receive.
Thus, online education should exist but it is not a replacement for traditional schooling.