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Online classes serve as real-world preparation

Jackson Poe

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The increasing amount of online classes as a means for education is great for students of all ages. Online classes put the work completely in the students’ hands and let them work through the class at their own pace. They allow for more flexible scheduling and don’t overwhelm students by having them actually attend class and deal with a professor face-to-face. They can be especially helpful for classes that are not extremely interesting, but are required for graduation.

Those things might not appeal to everyone, and that is understandable. But everyone should take at least one online class during their time at The University of Alabama and that it should even be a ?requirement. I do not know what everyone plans on doing after they graduate, but I can almost guarantee it will require some form of online learning or instruction. Review courses for ?graduate school admission tests are shifting online. Graduate schools are putting more and more emphasis on online seminars and classes. Employers are offering more and more training and ?instruction online.

Whatever your post-education plans might be, the experience you gain from online learning will be valuable. The University has an ?excellent offering of online classes, maybe even too many. This is a good start, but the focus should now be on the quality of online classes. A student should be able to get just as much out of ?an online class as a traditional class if they work hard enough.

Online classes should not serve as easier versions of their traditional counterpart. Instead, they should emphasize freedom of learning for independent-thinking students, and provide students the opportunity to learn in ways that they will undoubtedly see again in the future. There are people who argue that online classes dilute the value of the degree, but this seems ignorant considering many academic elite institutions, including Ivy League schools, are offering online classes at all levels of study. After all, the classes are still structured and taught by world-class faculty from respected ?universities across the globe.

It may be harder for you to learn online, but that is ?exactly the point. I would bet ?that grades for an online class would be lower, even if the class were identical to the traditional class, with the exception of the online ?classes where the lectures are recorded daily and posted to blackboard. You may even learn less in the online version ?than in the traditional ?classroom setting.

Online classes more closely resemble the real world and the impending future. They throw it all at you and leave it for you to figure out. This may not be the best learning method for some classes. It may not be in your best interest to take your first online class in a subject that is difficult for you. Like all new pursuits in life, start small by ?taking an elective online. The class will teach you discipline, time management and also open you up to the way you will be learning for the rest of your life.

Jackson Poe is a senior ? majoring in finance and accounting. His columns runs biweekly on Thursday.

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Online classes serve as real-world preparation