The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Online classes do more harm than good

Illustration by Eugene Chang

When class-registration time comes along, be wary of the appeal of online classes. Distance education may mean staying home on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but the slight convenience may not be worth it in the long run.

A 2011 study showed that “students were more likely to fail or withdraw from online courses than from face-to-face courses,” according to Columbia University.

The causes for this can vary from technological barriers to an increase in distractions while online. Lack of social reinforcement to perform can also play a role in the lack of success of distance education.

Some online classes require pre-installed software or an adequate internet connection that not everybody has. While they may not be a problem for younger students who are keen to using the latest technological devices, some older students might struggle to adapt.

And while many schools do have fully-equipped computer labs to serve the students, going to the college and using the equipment will contradict the point of distance education.

The infinite number of distractions found on the internet are sure to take away from online education too. While each student is different, some more disciplined than others, the fact is every student will be tempted at least once to scroll through Facebook for a couple of minutes, watch a quick YouTube video, or see what friends are up to on Instagram.

Suddenly minutes turn into hours and the time set apart to study and finish one’s online work has to be postponed.

Social factors are also a possible culprit for the high drop rate in online classes. When an actual lectured course is taken, there is a higher chance of joining a study group with classmates, and to visit professors during office hours.

There are also some fields of study that simply cannot be taught, at least correctly, without face to face interaction. Classes like public speaking, medicine, athletics, and journalism are not teachable online.

Even for subjects which are mostly text-based such as math and science, an online class still lacks the sense of communication that real life classroom lectures provide.

College students can be a busy bunch. Education must often take a back seat to work, family obligations, and simply having a social life. However, community colleges have adapted to meet the demands of the multitasking student.

Evening and weekend classes are available to meet student demands and an online course should really be the last option for someone in order to get the full college experience.

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