A Matter of Class: Online Courses

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By: Dylan Doyle, East Staff Writer

Tri-C offers several different class formats with varying levels of online content and weeks required for completion. This means that students have to chose between online, hybrid, or strictly classroom in addition to eight, fourteen, or sixteen weeks. What this really boils down to is: which class is right for you? I spoke with several students and faculty members to shed some light on the matter.

First, let’s take a look at online classes. Over the course of interviewing students on the Eastern Campus, I quickly noticed a trend of opinions on this particular format. Online classes are dreaded by the students on campus.

Michelle Smith, a Program Assistant for Women in Transition who has returned to Tri-C to get her degree in nursing, has never taken an online class. She says that this is entirely intentional.

“I am regimented. I have to physically go to a traditional class in order to learn. I have a hard time organizing online anything,” says Smith. “With online they give you too much leeway to get the paperwork done.”

Abby Mosley, a journalism major, shares Michelle’s opposition to online classes, saying that she doesn’t like the looser schedule that online classes bring. She also said that the absence of the classroom environment is a big loss for her as a communications major.

These shared ideas surfaced in nearly every interview I conducted amongst the students. This could partially be because the students who prefer online classes are less likely to be found on campus so take this with a grain of salt.

I then turned to the faculty to see what they thought of the topic. Brian Johnson, Assistant Professor of the Humanities, talked about why the local students might not be as receptive to online education.

“When they’re live, there’s more obvious accountability. When they have friends or fellow classmates and they want to engage in the discussions more, there’s more of an advantage to having read.”

He didn’t rule against online classes however, saying that some of the best conversations he’s had with students have been online. Professor Johnson also brought up that online classes are an important resource for students with very busy schedules that can’t necessarily make it to any of the campuses for their classes. Being able to offer education to people in a variety of life situations is one of Tri-C’s focuses after all.

Ultimately, students want to make sure that they are able to take the classes that they want when they want.

William Cunion, Associate Dean of Liberal Arts at East, said that students can do just that through DegreeWorks, the degree auditing software that Tri-C offers its students for free through the student website. He urges any student that wants to make sure that their needs will be met to use DegreeWorks since it is the most direct way to inform the school of what classes they might need. And if you’re worried about figuring out DegreeWorks you can always sit down with a counselor to have them walk you through it. When looked at in that light, the ball is really in your court.

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