Pros and Cons of Taking Online Classes

OnlineClassesScheduling courses in college can be really fun because except for the core classes for our majors, we get to pick what we want to take. Do you want to learn about Ancient Egypt or the Holocaust? Are you interested in doing two yoga classes or taking Nutrition 100?

The possibilities are endless, and seem too good to be true when you realize you can get an “easy gen-ed” course online. But beware: with the pros of scheduling online classes come the definite cons. Let Valley and Penn State students who have taken online courses help you decide whether or not you want to schedule one.

Pro: You can do it from the comfort of your own home

Quite literally. Marie Leibfreid, a junior double majoring in criminology and sociology, has taken three online courses and plans to take two more this summer. “If you have to go home for whatever reason, you don’t need to worry about missing class or getting deducted attendance points since the class goes with you,” she says.

Con: So many technology problems

If you’ve been a Penn State student for more than a semester, then you’ve experienced ANGEL being down. It doesn’t change for online classes, and because you have so long to hand in the work, teachers are rarely sympathetic when an assignment won’t submit. Mike Batson, a senior majoring in chemical engineering who has taken three online classes, says “I was taking a quiz online and the computer froze.”

Pro: Online classes typically have all the work due once a week

You have a week to complete all of the assignments instead of the usual every two to three days. “I could do the work whenever I wanted, at my own pace, and could use my textbook for reference at any time,” says sophomore supply chain management major Kevin Fischer, who has taken two online courses.

Con: You may very easily forget about an assignment

Without the constant reminder of a professor telling you when your huge assignment is due, your daily life routine such as other campus classes, clubs and organizations, work and a social life can distract you from an online assignment. Leibfreid says, “I’ve had to leave reminders on my phone to let me know when I have a project or test coming up.”

Pro: Some professors record the lecture

Not all professors record lectures, but the ones that do really do try to convey the information to students. Mike Batson, a senior majoring in chemical engineering who has taken three online classes, says “Recorded lectures make it easier to learn. If I miss what the instructor is saying, I just rewind the lecture.”

Con: You might not have a lecture

While this may very well be a pro for some people, this does mean that there isn’t somebody physically in front of you to answer your questions right away. “I couldn’t ask questions as quickly or easily and I never heard a lecture,” says Fischer. “Hearing is another platform to remember something other than reading.”

Photo by Sam Florio