By Teresa Acosta
Online classes with live instruction and meetings should become a permanent option for all students.
As classes are set to return on campus with in-person instruction, it is important to look back at the different ways classes have been held over the last year.
The information must be analyzed for what has worked, what has not and how that information can be used to broaden class styles offered at East Los Angeles College.
Students and faculty continue the debate over whether or not classes should remain online, but it is time to look past that argument.
The pandemic created an involuntary trial and error. This should be used to lead colleges to improvements and more variety in class options.
Previously, the main options for taking classes at ELAC were traditional in-person learning, done in a classroom, meeting multiple times a week.
Another option is online classes that provide all the information needed to complete assignments at the pace of the student, with no live lectures.
Closing the campus last spring forced classes in progress to convert to an online only format with video conferencing to replace live lectures.
There is much to research and develop about the failures and successes of these classes. Professors and students were left with a sink-or-swim challenge when campus closed.
Online classes with live instruction are an opportunity for many to return to school after a hiatus.
Stay-at-home parents are some of the people that have taken advantage of this opportunity. The challenge of not having reliable childcare is just one of the reasons hybrid classes can be a viable option.
Others, who have been out of school for some time, see it as an opportunity to continue their education.
Many of these are often under the pressure of being in a classroom setting where their peers are half their age, and they may not be as comfortable asking for help in this setting.
Of course, there are those classes where a hybrid model is just not possible, the classes that require hands-on learning with tools. Yet even those types of classes should have the option to attend classes both on campus and online.
Online classes with no live meetings are a useful means of learning for those who are self-disciplined and self-motivated.
These classes can be worked into almost any schedule. Classes following this style provide that little extra push for students to successfully complete assignments are perfect for students who need a little bit more accountability.
Those that need a space where they can ask questions in a live setting, instead of tracking down a source to answer questions.
According to www.educationdata.org, in 2020, 41% of students indicated the quality of their online college-level learning experience was better than college-level classroom instruction, compared to 15% who felt it was not as good.
There is something about being able to take a college course from the comfort of your own space that just feels easier.