Are online courses worth taking? This is how the students feel. – The mail
High school students linked to COD have been locked down by the pandemic and are now faced with the option of returning to class in person or staying online. What do they think?
COD-bound high schoolers were locked down by the pandemic while in high school and are now recovering from years of online classes. Mia Cheaure was one of these students.
Cheaure is a freshman at COD who plans to major in forensics. She, like many freshmen, had taken online classes in high school, and she came away with a bad impression.
“My sophomore year, everything was remote,” she said. “The school has a system that as long as you turn in homework on time, you get points for it.”
She said she thought it was a bad decision by all parties involved.
“I’m always in the mindset that as long as I’m doing the job, I don’t need to be careful.”
Cheaure said she felt free to distract herself during online classes because she knew that as long as she submitted her work, teachers didn’t know she wasn’t paying attention in class. She warned that it was not smart to do. Moreover, she feels that it is urgent to cheat in online courses. Coming out of high school, she tried hard to break those old habits. She wants to do well in her classes because, for the first time, she is paying for her studies.
What’s the difference in how you connect with other students in an online course? For Cheaure, the difference is that there isn’t really a place to have a conversation online.
“There’s no rush to participate,” she said, “I just show up, click a link, and do my assigned job.”
Cheaure said she feels the same way about the student-teacher relationship: teachers try to engage students, but students refrain from reactivating or turning on their cameras. Because of her commitment to in-person classes, Cheaure notices that people are willing to talk, which gives her a more enjoyable college experience.
Another first-year student, Hubert Mazur, is majoring in cybersecurity and is a member of the computer club. He has enough computer experience to “read a program and already know what’s going on in it.” So, now that he’s taking an online programming course, what does he think?
“Most of the time what they need is pretty clear,” he said of the assignments and quizzes. “It’s not hard.” So why is he taking his online programming course?
Mazur described in-person training as having a set pace, but with online courses, everything you need to complete the course is available to you from the start. He said in-person classes “feel like a waste of time when you can get ahead on your own.”
Computer programming can be complicated. But even in Mazur’s case, he thinks it’s easy to contact his teacher about a problem via email. “Most of the time what they need is pretty clear,” he said, “just code a program.”
Many students share Mazur’s sentiment. Online courses provide a learning environment in which students can progress at their own pace. This means that students who want to take their time with the material have this ability.
A senior, Maggie Schmidt, took online classes and is only taking fully online classes for her final semester. She specializes in marketing.
She said in-person classes were good because she had more college experience. “But,” she added, “I’m not super social.” She hasn’t found many new friends. She completed her high school education online, so she had a comfortable transition to online classes in college.
Schmidt said, “I like being able to go at my own pace,” adding that she can do her job at “2:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m.” She said it helped her succeed at work and accomplish other personal things. Goals. Convenience was the deciding factor for her.
Regarding her study habits, she said they “are not necessarily habits” because she tends to be inconsistent. She added that she has always found Quizlet useful. “I like to write things down at least once or several times.”
Asked about her contact with teachers, Schmidt replied, “Yes, I always felt able to do that.” She said she always checks Rate My Teacher before signing up to make sure the teacher responds to the students.
But when asked about her contact with other students online, she replied: “I haven’t made any connection with anyone.”
Discussing why she chose online classes on a more personal level, Schmidt said, “I tried to take a class right after high school, but I gave up on it.” After that, she took a break from work and eventually returned to college.
According to an internal COD email, in the fall 2021 semester, over 40% more undergraduate students took online classes than in-person classes. More recently, from fall 2021 to present, COD has seen an increase in the number of undergraduate students taking in-person classes by nearly 60%. But, over the same period, attendance at fully online courses has only dropped by about 10%. So, online courses, especially those that are completely online, continue to allow students to enroll in COD who otherwise could not.