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Be Careful With Online Classes

The tricky thing about online classes is that sometimes assignment instructions are ambiguous or unclear, so students can easily misinterpret them. It's also easy for students to assume that other students in the class are doing assignments correctly, which can result in a "herd mentality" and lead the entire class in the wrong direction (I've experienced this more than once). Clarifying something when the class physically meets every week is easy: You can read the instructor's body language and tone of voice and receive immediate answers to your questions; but in an online environment it's harder to know when you've misconstrued something. Unless the instructor has very clear and thorough guidelines, and unless the students read them carefully, there will be misunderstandings.

Hybrid classes (50% online) can also be misleading. You only have to show up to class once a week, but when you check Blackboard (or whatever online environment your instructor uses) suddenly there's a bunch of homework due the next day! So, if something is vague and can be interpreted in different ways, ask the instructor. That way, he/she can also improve the online content for future classes. And check your Blackboard every day so you can know what's going on in class. And don't assume that the other students know what they're doing!

Comments

Hi Carlos. I agree that online classes can be difficult, therefore it is important for the future college student to research his/her options and choose a setting most beneficial to him/her. One major difference between the online education and the traditional setting is summed up in three words- instructor versus facilitator. In many online environments the student will be responsible for teaching himself/herself (facilitator led class)as where a traditional classroom includes an instructor who will do just that- instruct. It is also imperative to be a critical thinker when enrolling in online classes because often, the same answer from numerous students is not accepted, even if the initial answer given in the main forum was correct. Thinking outside the box allows for classroom participation by substantive posts to one's peers. Time management is another area where an online class may be more demanding. It may be easier to miss a class when one does not need to physically show up, and more difficult to miss a class when your physical body is immediately noticed as being absent. Online schools may be beneficial for some, as where learning styles for others may best be met in traditional settings. Always research and make an informed decision before choosing any college or university as your higher education source. Never ever forget to make certain that your college or university is accredited. Both online classes and traditional settings have some schools which are not accredited.

Interesting comments, Veronica! Thanks for your input. You sound like an Education major. Some of my online class instructors really do teach rather than just facilitate. I think it depends on how involved the instructor is--how often he interacts with and responds to students; and, to a certain extent, how much interaction he requires from students. But I've also had some pretty bad online classes where the instructor goes AWOL and students are at the mercy of their interpretation of the content on Blackboard.

Interesting Blog !  Online classes are perfectly organized by different organizations and online class providers but mostly online providers can not provide proper information among there students....

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