Scheduling woes: online versus in person classes

Edwive Seme and Vanessa Paredes

life@fiusm.com

Students have a lot to consider when picking classes: instructors, time, and difficulty all weigh in before schedules are finalized. In addition to those factors, now, more than ever, students face the decision of taking courses in person or online.

The University’s plan to expand to 52,000 students by 2015 is making class selections more complicated and forcing students to consider the option of taking classes online. As much as this generation is acquainted with technology, when it comes to online courses, students seem to be more prone to go with the traditional choice — attending the class physically.

“I hate online classes,” said freshman Kristie Reyes, a business major. “Traditional is better because it allows you to meet new people and help each other so that you can do better in the class, but with the online course, you just have to rely on yourself and the teacher’s email responses.”

However, avoiding driving to campus and being able to attend the class lecture in the comfort of your own home does pose its advantages.

“You can manage your class around your schedule,” said senior Adolfo Sardi, a criminal justice major.

As far as level of difficulty, Sardi explained that it depends on the student’s personal preference, but he finds online classes easier to pass.

“It depends on the person, really. Some people do better in a classroom environment, and others like myself, prefer to teach themselves. In my opinion, it’s easier online,” said Sardi.

The pace of the course is the most notable difference between online and on-campus courses. In an online course, students can work at their own pace and can choose to complete the material anytime and anywhere. With this in mind, self-discipline and more motivation is essential to ace an online course, since some much freedom is allotted to the student.

Taking online courses requires an additional fee along with the regular tuition price, which covers the cost of managing and maintaining the learning management system, along with the tools, additional software, and technical support. The fee, which is $174 per online class taken, may be a deal breaker for students who are trying to save as much money as possible.

The question of which option is better is not an easy one to answer. Students agree that there are pros and cons for both class-taking styles, yet there does seem to be a preferred choice in the end.

The deciding factor among many students seems to be the advantages of in-person interaction. Whether it is with other students or the professor, having the face-to-face contact for many students seems to be the deal maker.

“When you’re right there in the class, you get to ask the teacher whatever questions you want, whereas in an online class you only have an email and office hours that most students don’t usually go to,” said Kettelie Jean-Louis, a freshman majoring in Education. “But I will be taking online classes in the spring because I feel that they are more convenient for students that have to work.”

At the end of the day, the choice is up to the student. Online classes can be as beneficial as traditional ones, but with the increase in students and fewer spots in traditional classes available, they might have to give a second thought about taking online courses, if the shoe fits.

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