Online vs On-Campus Classes

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Missouri Western offers both on-campus and online classes. Students may prefer one over the other. The difficulty in having a decision like that is deciding which one is best for you.

Students may be taking online courses because of flexibility with their personal schedule or because they prefer the isolation aspect and focusing on their work without any of the classroom distractions. Others feel as if physically going to a classroom and having a set time for class and assignments is more beneficial.

Freshman at Missouri Western Dylan Aspelund prefers on-campus courses over online courses.

“Both have equal stressers,” Aspelund said. “Attending classes everyday and having homework everyday can put a heavy amount of stress on you, but also having due dates for online classes can put even more stress on you because you can put it off until the day before it’s due. I definitely prefer on-campus classes because it’s more difficult to procrastinate when I actually have to be there and have set due dates and set tests and quizzes.”

Procrastination is a big issue for students when taking online courses. Assistant Dean Dr. Melody Smith expresses that all of us have been there.

“I’m a list maker,” Smith said. “I have a method of a work journal where the right column is coated for must do, can wait, and follow up immediately, and I just tell myself to do it. It’s my organization style. When you’re online you have this deadline and you know you better get it done, but as an instructor, we can tell the difference in the quality of someone who paced it out like you would with a regular on-campus class than someone who waited until 11:50 when it has to be submitted by 12:00.”

Dr. Melody Smith has taken both online and on-campus classes. She is alumni of Missouri Western. She graduated in ‘87 as a nontraditional student. She did not go straight to college after high school, so she already had a family by the time she started college.

“I had to come to college during the day while my husband was at home so he could take care of our young son, and I didn’t have a single option except to come to the campus, and it had to become my full time job. I couldn’t work otherwise. That was a huge sacrifice,” Smith said. “Had I been a nontraditional student today or even a traditional student, taking a particular course, I could’ve enrolled in an online course when our working schedules and our family commitments did not coincide with my class schedule on campus. I just think the flexibility and the options bring a richness to Missouri Western so we can offer both on-campus and online rigorous courses. It’s the same. It’s just as rigorous online as it is on campus. So we don’t lose anything in the content piece, but the flexibility is a benefit.”

It’s all based on the student’s opinion and what works best for them. English professor Meredith Katchen, who has taught both online and on-campus classes, claims the education is the same. “The goal is to not construct one better than the other,” Katchen reveals. “Both can be highly effective.”