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Attending Class From Your Bedroom: The Pros and Cons of Online Classes

We all have those mornings where our eyes don’t want to open, those mornings where our beds feel way too warm and cozy to get out of, but for college students, class is inevitable. Some days, getting out of bed feels impossible. Online classes make this awful experience disappear because we can do all of the required work without ever having to put on real pants. Western currently offers over 200 online classes, so there’s plenty of chances for students to get an education from the comfort of their own homes. But with something this convenient and seemingly awesome comes some serious negatives.

“Personally, I do not like taking classes online. You don’t have a physical schedule to follow, so I wouldn’t do the homework until minutes before the deadline,” junior Camryn Peters said. “I am not good at setting time aside specifically for that online class, although it is nice to have those extra hours without having to be physically present in a classroom.”

A study done by California State University in 2009 suggested that students spend a lot of time reading and posting threaded responses that supplement an online class, perhaps much more time than they would spend reading and analyzing materials in a course they would have to attend on campus. This study suggests that about 40% of an online class’ course load consists of threaded discussion or asynchronous discussion. The study goes on to say that “threaded discussion has been identified as a useful tool in facilitating student metacognitive awareness and development of self-regulatory processes and strategies.”

Taking online classes is not without its flaws though. For example, the relationship between the professor and the student can be difficult to maintain because neither party is able to interact with the other on a tangible level. This makes the relationship very two-dimensional, which can stifle the student’s overall class experience significantly.

“With an online class, if you have issues with the internet or if you don’t understand things, it’s more of a pain to contact the teacher,” junior Zac Covault said. “Without being able to have a bond with the professor, it might be more awkward to go ask for help.”

Beyond that, when it comes to the grading process, having a relationship with your professor can help them to see your side of things when you get into a bind during the semester. When you are hidden behind your computer screen, and your professor doesn’t know you from the name below yours on the class roster, there is really no way for them to give you the second chance you so desperately think you deserve when you don’t do so hot on a late or incomplete assignment.

“A lot of campus teachers take class participation and attendance into consideration when it comes to borderline grades,” Peters said. “And in some cases, those have been the factors that have allowed me to receive a passing letter grade.”

When you get to set your own rules, being a devoted college student gets more and more difficult by the day. Why work on the homework for your online class when you have until midnight to get it done and there’s a new episode of Grey’s Anatomy on? When it comes down to it, online classes are not for everyone. They require a lot of attention, organization, and more effort than one may have prepared for when they enrolled in the class. If you can handle all of that, then put your pajamas on, hop into bed, and get to work.

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