Online coursework requires a bit of a paradigm shift, but, as the author writes, there are many advantages to the platform.
I signed up for a Semester Online course recently. And I was little hesitant.
I had never taken a course online.
Of course, I spend a ton of time online. I watch videos, I Skype, I read books — all of the elements of an online course, really.
But I just couldn’t fathom taking a real course — a course that I’d receive the same amount of credits for, a course that I’d be paying the same tuition dollars for as a traditional course.
What if my Internet connection went bad during class time? What if I couldn’t hear what my professor was lecturing? What if the platform simply didn’t engage me?
Perhaps I’d be too distracted to really immerse myself in the material — after all, the class meets wherever I want it to, usually in my living room.
But because our world is increasingly digitized, I had to give it a shot.
And because I wanted to accept an internship offer that required me to be at the office a minimum number of hours, taking a class that was flexible (and met at a rather obscure time) allowed me to do that while still ensuring I was meeting requirements for my degree.
So now I’m enrolled in a course that meets every Wednesday at 8 p.m.
A month into my class, I’m loving it.
The biggest draw for me was the scheduling of the courses. A close second was the topics.
I had the option of taking Integrated Marketing Communications taught by Northwestern University or Leading and Managing taught by UNC-Chapel Hill.
These courses aren’t offered at my school, so enrolling in one of them also gave me a chance to explore topics that I’m intrigued by — and my university will still give me credit for it.
Every week during class, we discuss the reading, we view slides, we take quizzes — just like in a traditional class.
In our increasingly “busy” lives, we want to pursue as many opportunities as we can without having their qualities devalued and online courses allow us to do that.
Georgia Tech sees it that way too: it offers an entire masters program that you can earn through MOOCs.
Of course, it is dependent on the student to research how (if it all) online classes can transfer to their home institution in credit hours.
For some people, they might not find the platform online course providers use all that appealing. And that’s OK. It took some time to get used to the Brady-bunch style webcam display in my class, but that shouldn’t stop you from giving it a shot.
I think Ned Desmond, COO of TechCrunch, nailed it when he said, “Learning never stops, especially in the highly competitive world of tech and startups.”
Online coursework requires a bit of a paradigm shift. Just as I’m sure was required when hard copy textbooks began turning into online e-books. And when phone calls turned into e-mails. And when … well, you get the point.
I’m satisfied with my experience with online coursework, and I can’t wait to take further advantage of online courses once my undergraduate career is completed. After all, learning shouldn’t end once you receive your degree.
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