What exactly comes to your mind when you think about colleges and enrolling for courses?
Well, I know you must be imagining a classroom with a blackboard and series of desks and chairs. Am I right?
I might be right but you are wrong this time.
Online classes have recently taken education to a new level because during the pandemic every education institution remained closed. Online classes and courses were already there before the pandemic started but students were not much aware of it. It was during the pandemic that the world became thankful to online medium of education to keep the studies going on even when everybody stayed locked inside their houses. If compared to online courses and degrees, there are certain disadvantages while opting for online classes but due to the technological development, its advantages are highlighted more.
Advantages of Online Courses:
- Flexible- Online courses provide a syllabus, schedule, course materials and deadlines. You can study and complete your tasks and assignments whenever you feel like. There is flexibility in choosing your appropriate study time. You do not need to visit the campus during college hours only to complete your course works.
- Convenient- The instructors and other helping assistants are available 24*7 and throughout the week to solve your queries and problems in an online course. You can contact them and resolve your issues or clarify your doubts as per your convenience and availability.
- Location- If you are doing online courses, you will definitely enjoy locational advantage. You can study and complete the course from the comfort of your home or hostel room. You do not need to worry about visiting the campus on time or everyday to meet the attendance requirement. You just need a laptop or a computer and fast internet service provider to get your works started and then you can complete it from anywhere.
- Individual attention- You can ask your questions or queries directly to the instructor through course email. Many students feel shy or awkward to clarify their queries in class. Online courses are the best choice for them because they get the opportunity to directly contact the instructor and get their issues resolved. The instructor also pays individual attention to each student’s queries so that they understand the course materials better and achieve good grades in class.
- Collaboration- Online courses provides opportunities to students to know each other through online discussion forums. Sometimes they are asked to do group work also so that they can gel well together and get the work done. Parents often think that their children might become unsocial and introvert if they do not go for regular college classes. This is absolutely wrong because students get to virtually meet each other in online classes.
- Financial Benefits- Doing online courses will save you a lot of money. Obviously, you will have to buy a laptop or a computer and get an internet connection but still it is much cheaper than travelling to the campus, parking your vehicle, eating outside and spending time outside. Online courses are also comparatively cheaper than offline courses.
- Self-Discipline- Online courses help to nurture self-discipline. Since there is no restriction except for the deadlines, you need to manage your routine and complete all your studies and the course works by the mentioned deadline. This means online course guides you to develop self-discipline in you.
- Global Learning- Students from all across the world enroll for online courses. As a result, a class consists of student from different ethnicities or background. Their interaction with each other further initiates the process of global learning. New ideas are exchanged and online course becomes the connection to global learning village.
Disadvantages of Online Classes:
- Procrastination- Since there is no fear to face the instructor every day, students doing online courses often keep postponing their study hours and homeworks. As a result, procrastination becomes their habit. Are you one of them? Then better change your habit now because this is where online courses create bad impressions. They provide the students with the opportunities to develop habits of procrastination.
- Time Consumption- Online courses takes more time of yours than offline classes and the main reason behind that is the online environment. If you need to interact with your classmates or the instructor, you need to type emails or discussion posts to communicate. In an offline class, you can just go and talk to anybody which is a much quicker option.
- Isolation- Some students who opt for online courses often develop a strong sense of isolation because they are not physically going to a class environment and meeting other students. This is basically a psychological problem associated with online courses. Even if there are other students and the chance to interact with them verbally, you might feel alone if you are not interacting with them properly through the discussion forums.
- Independent- There is no strict hard and fast rule in online courses and a huge amount of leniency is present. You feel more independent while doing online courses which is a disadvantage here because students prefer not to study in such cases. It can be harmful to your career and you might end up wasting your money and time and not finishing the course with a passing grade.
- Responsibility- Responsibility regarding studies is a big thing and if that is left on the student itself, they tend to leave everything and enjoy a gala time outside. Think about it yourself? When it was left to you to study for an exam, you have postponed it numerous times thinking that you will do it right before the exam. In online courses, it is your responsibility only to do everything and finish the course and there is high chance that you will do nothing effective to take the responsibility like a matured person and complete the course. In that case, offline courses are much better.
- Freedom- Too much of freedom for a student can be dangerous and online courses give enough to a student to damage his or her career. That is why may be offline classes are better here as the professor and the college authorities keep a track of your whereabouts.
- Time Management- Time Management is a major issue here because there are numerous works spread throughout the course duration that needs to be submitted on time. If you fail to keep a track of all of them you might fail the course or complete it with a not so satisfactory grade. Online courses can be sometimes problematic to manage.
General Work Pattern of Online Courses:
If you have not enrolled for any online courses yet or not aware of the working pattern in such online courses, get to know about it now from the below mentioned points.
- About the Course-
At the beginning of any online course you need to know more about the course first. There will be a module or a folder where the syllabus, course schedule and instructor information are mentioned. You need to start you course from here only by knowing more about the course policies, expectation, grading patterns and other necessary details.
- Ice Breaker/ Introduction-
Next is the Introduction or the Ice Breaker Discussion. Online classes have many students but they do not get the chance to meet or know each other physically. That is why this introduction or Ice Breaker forum is available at the beginning of any online course to meet and greet all the online students. It gives any online student the classroom feeling to some extent.
- Weekly Discussion Forum-
Usually in online courses every week there are discussion forums where the student needs to participate and upload reply to the prompt questions. Then later in the week the student needs to check other student’s posts and comment on their solutions as well. This is usually done to keep the discussion about the class topic on for long amongst the students.
- Weekly Quizzes-
In many of the online courses there are weekly quizzes which you need to attempt to get a passing score. These quizzes are of two types. They can be open book quiz or respondus. You need to answer the questions within the mentioned time and then it will be submitted for grading.
- Weekly Assignment-
At the end of every week or module the student needs to complete and submit the solution to the assigned assignment of the week. These assignments generally range between 2 to 10 pages depending on the course type and the expectation of the professor.
Although such working pattern is followed in majority of online courses, there are many courses that work differently. They have their own pattern is schedule that needs to be followed to get a passing grade. The above mentioned points are just to provide you with the basic idea about online courses.
How to score better in Online classes?
- Originality-Online courses give a lot of opportunity to students to read from online sources and form write their answers taking help from them. It is absolutely important for you to understand that taking help is ok but you need to write your assignments and solutions in your own words. Originality is the key to get better grade in online courses. Copying is not allowed at all and it might be termed as plagiarism which is a serious offence.
- Time Management-If you want to score better in online classes, all you need to do is manage enough time to read the lecture notes and the assigned readings carefully and then answer all the questions provided. Since works are divided throughout the week, you need to manage your time carefully so that you can give enough to the course activities.
- Study Thoroughly-Some students skim through the reading materials and there are many others who do not read them at all. Since there is no one to keep a check on that in online courses, you will have to do it yourself with sincerity. Read thoroughly so that you understand how to answer your assignment prompts correctly. Going through each and every study material is very important for you to get the desired grade.
- Use Help Desk-
Scoring better not only means to complete everything on time. It also means that you are using all the university resources whenever necessary. There is a help desk team working behind all online courses and you can take help from them whenever necessary, if you are stuck somewhere or facing any kind of difficulty. Sometimes, students are unable to mark the answers during a quiz due to technical issue and the grades are reduced to zero. In such cases, you are always advised to immediately contact the help desk or the professor to fix the issue so that you can perform well in the quiz and your grades are pulled up.
- Use Online Library-Most students forget or avoid using the online database while working on their online courses. Please note that it is always advisable to use online library for reference while doing course works. You can contact the librarian also if you are looking for any particular book or journal article. Sources used from trusted database often helps to fetch better grades in assignments.
- Avoid missing Deadlines-It is very much necessary in an online course that you keep a tab of the deadlines. Missing deadlines means a direct zero for those assignments in the gradebook. Although some professors allow students to submit late with penalty but it is best to avoid missing deadline if you are targeting for an A grade.
- Follow the Grading Rubric-For each and every graded assignments and activities there is a grading rubric which tells you how to write your assignments to get full grade. Go through it carefully and then develop your answers. If all expectations are met then surely you will get good grade in the works.
Why choose online course over offline classes?
- It’s flexible-
Flexibility is a major thing in the modern world, especially when everybody is busy. Going to the college campus for classes and exams is not always possible. So, online courses are much better in this regard. You do not need to visit the campus to attend classes. You can do that at your own convenience.
- Wide range of Courses-
Universities who offer online courses have a wide variety of courses for you to choose from. Usually, in case of offline courses, the subjects and course topics are very limited and common but many uncommon subjects are available if you are opting for online classes. You are free to choose and then acquire knowledge on it.
- Easily accessible-
There is absolutely no doubt that online courses can be accessed from anywhere which is much more convenient than offline classes. Even if you are on a vacation or a holiday you can access the course from anywhere and finish the course works. You will not be marked absent in such cases.
- Customized Learning Experience-
Online courses are of different types and they are designed to meet the various customized learning demands of the students. You will get a learning experience like never before.
- It’s cost effective-
Online courses are much more cost effective than offline courses. While enrolling for offline classes you not only need to pay for the course but also endure other expenses for travelling to the campus, hostel fees and food expense. You do not need any of these other than the course fee when you are doing any online course.
- It is the future of Education-
Online courses have become an integral part of modern education after the Pandemic. Learning was made possible even during the lockdown because of these online courses. Very soon the online platform is going to become the future of education.
This world is going through rapid changes because of the technological development. Internet is easily accessible to all and everybody has a smart phone in their hand. So, the educational institutions have also taken a leap and have introduced online course to keep at par with the technological growth. It is high time that people understand this and accept the new form on learning through online classes. When something is new people always fear to dig into it in the first go but online classes can be a whole new enlightening experience altogether. That is the reason everybody should rethink about their learning pattern and go for more online courses.