Online universities have successfully revolutionized the higher educational learning environment. Yet, we still see forum postings that argue against online universities. Therefore, I am here to boldly declare that online university students can benefit from classes far more than counter-part traditional university students; not to mention the potential cost-savings in tuition. I am able to provide unbiased comparisons because I completed four years of a bachelor’s degree program at one of the top public brick-and-mortar universities over a decade ago, and I will be graduating from an online master’s degree program at American Public University (APU).
I believe there are four reasons why online university students benefit from classes far more than traditional brick-and-mortar university students:
Mandatory Discussion and Introduction Forum Posts
Online university students are required to have discussion posts and responses on a periodic (weekly) basis. This assignment helps to encourage students to organize, absorb, and reinforce what they have learned from their research and assigned textbook readings. In addition, at the start of each semester, students are required to write brief biographies about their backgrounds and goals. This activity helps to provide their peers with more clarity and understanding of their interests, goals, and expectations of themselves.
Mandatory Assignment Submissions for Grading
Not only are online forum discussions and participation required, but a percentage of students’ grades are dependent on weekly assignments submissions. This will encourage and force students to learn class materials in pieces at a time, and this will train students to be self-disciplined and better able to manage their schedules. They will also discover their own weaknesses in a subject matter which will give them the opportunity to work on those areas before the end of the class. This process helps students to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the volume of course materials, and will hopefully discourage them from dropping the course altogether.
Mandatory Research Papers
Nowadays, online students can resort to other authoritative sources on the Internet to gain additional knowledge and learning materials. Online students are given the opportunity to research and incorporate those sources into their required research papers. This will transform students into self-motivated learners, and it will also enrich the course experience.
Option to Attend (Log onto) Classes When They Are Most Alert
Learning or acquiring knowledge should be an enjoyable experience. It should not be made to feel like a daunting task where students are forced to attend classes at a set time schedule when they are already drained and not at their peak performance. Learning is more productive when the student is most alert. It is also convenient for the working student that has to fit their class schedule into their day, or night, job. Giving the student control over when they can get their course assignments done creates a higher level of responsibility within the individual, and gives them the ability to develop a healthy work-life balance.
By Houn Kang
Special Student Contributor