Editorial: Online courses not to be taken lightly

It seems like taking an online class should an easy grade. The teacher can’t give you pop quizzes, no participation or attendance grade. You have some flexibility to choose when you want to do your homework. Well the fact of the matter is no. A new study just found that students who take online courses tend to fail or dropout more than students who take face to face courses.

The study that was conducted and written by Di Xu and Shanna Smith Jaggar for the Community College Research Center. The study ran for five years, focusing on Washington State, and took place in tandem with a study based in Virginia. The study essentially came to the conclusion that students who took online classes would perform worse in these classes than they would have in a face to face traditional classroom environment.

Skyline offers an array of online classes through its Distant Education Program. This program, for the purposes of online classes, is the classroom to students. It utilizes a website called WebACCESS, a site where an instructor can post all the materials they would normally show in a classroom for students to view online. Students are expected to log on every day to check on assignments, do work, quizzes, and can chat with fellow students through forums. Most of these functions are ignored until the last minute, or outright forgotten all together by students.

The classes themselves are on par with face to face classes in terms of the workload, and in some cases actually less or even more taxing than their face to face class counterparts. So why are students failing online classes more than face to face classes? Simple: online courses are a different beast to tackle. One should not think of these classes as something you log into just to take a test every week, and then forget about it until the next week.

Online courses take a certain amount of self-discipline. Students need to be on top of their assignments and test without a teacher nagging them to complete them. A student can easily forget they have an assignment to turn in or a test to take with all of their face to face classes fresh in their minds. If students do not keep up with the workload it will pile on just like any other classes. Just because there is no physical work to be done, that does not mean that it can be pushed aside for a later date.

A student should be weary. Online classes do not warrant an easy A. If the workload for these classes are left to the back burner, or taken lightly, they will definitely come back to bite you in the rear.