Imagine a classroom where learning was not hindered by the pressure of time or the humiliation of fellow students. Where reading was done at the pace of the student, not the teacher. Where a student could sit and think thoughtfully before answering, without the distraction of fellow students. This is the kind of classroom unlocked through online classes.
Los Medanos College should strive toward expanding and improving online classes because it is more cost effective, there is less pressure, they provide more flexibility in regards to time, and they allow the student to complete the course at his or her own pace.
According to an article in the New York Times, a report conducted by the SRl International for the Department of Education concluded that, “On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face to face instruction.”
While online classes require a computer and an Internet connection, they also cut the costs of many materials required to run a classroom. For the student, paper, pencil, pen, notebook, binder, and many more school supplies need to be purchased due to all assignments being turned in electronically, and all notes can be taken on the computer.
In regards to the school, the cost of electricity to run a classroom, paper and ink used for handouts, expo markers and chalk, and physical fatigue of the professor can all be saved through the use of online courses.
Another advantage of online courses is the ability to communicate through writing, and not having to deal with the pressure of the judgment and opinion of fellow students.
While some may argue that public speaking is an important skill that must be learned in order to participate in the workforce, this simply emphasizes that the subjects chosen to be online courses must be chosen carefully.
Clearly, a public speaking class should be taught in a classroom, in order to effectively produce practical skills in the art of speaking in front of an audience, something that cannot be done behind a computer screen. However, in regards to math, science, and other less personal subjects, the lessons can teach just as effectively, if not more effectively.
Online courses also free up time slots for the classes that must be taken in the classroom. Since the online courses are taken during the time the student wants to spend, there will be no conflicting times with other classes.
This may also have a positive impact on the learning process of the student. The student will have to do assignments for the online courses on his or her own time, not in a scheduled mandatory time where attendance is recorded for points. This makes the student proactive in engaging with the class, purposefully putting him or herself into a learning state.
In my own personal experience, I have found that one of the most attractive features of online courses is the ability to go at my own pace. Most of the time I can understand the content easily and can thus speed through the material I already know. Which furthers my progress toward the new and unknown material that I need to actually learn about.
In contrast a classroom setting would have me tied down to the rest of the class and the class can only move as fast as the slowest student.
Also, when I reach difficult material, I am not bound to a two-hour time slot to try and figure it out.
In conclusion, LMC should strive to improve and offer more online classes because online courses are more cost effective. They also free up time and space and allow the student to go at his or her own pace.