Last Updated 24 Mar 2020

Online Courses: the Pros and Cons

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Essay type Research
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Online Courses: The Pros and Cons By Melody More and more students are taking online classes. They are advertised on the radio, television, and billboards, promising convenience and opportunities. Even traditional universities are now offering online classes in conjunction with their normal “brick and mortor” classes. In actuality, online classes only appear to be easier and more convenient. Online course are more difficult and time-consuming than traditional classroom courses although they have afforded many bright and industrious students unprecedented opportunities to further their education.

The stigma behind online classes has led them to be less respected than traditional classes. In an effort to increase enrollment, many universities advertise that they offer online courses in which a student can quickly and conveniently earn their degree. This has two potentially negative consequences. First, employers who have never experienced a classroom setting in an online environment assume that these degrees are not as reputable as those from schools that exclusively offer traditional courses. Secondly, students enroll in these online courses with the mistaken belief that they are going to be quick and easy.

Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth. Online classes are more time consuming than in-classroom courses. In almost all courses, participation makes up a portion of everyone’s grade. Most professors count participation points as 10% of a student’s total grade. This 10% can easily be obtained in a classroom environment where a student can speak to peers and professor about a particular topic. However, online courses use a discussion board for communication, where the students and professor post responses to a discussion.

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The continuous posting by the students and professor makes spelling, grammar, and punctuation an unprecedented factor in a student’s participation points. Although online professors typically overlook spelling and grammatical errors when responding to students’ posts, they are liable to take away points. Most of the time they deduct participation points if the grammar and spelling is so bad that they cannot understand the point the student is attempting to make. Students whom normally struggle with spelling and grammar are forced to improve their writing skills.

In turn, the necessity of grammar, spelling, and punctuation benefits a student’s overall education experience. Moreover, the increased writing in a classroom environment can be a double-edged sword. The replacement of writing rather than speaking in a classroom can yield a negative effect on a person’s life. Online environments inadvertently encourage social isolation. A student who may have had social challenges or anxiety about speaking in front of a group of people in the past can easily continue isolating themselves from others rather than facing their fears.

When the student graduates, finding employment can be increasingly difficult without these necessary interpersonal skills. The socially awkward alumnus of a particular university negatively represents their university and discredits other alumni that could be applying for the same position. Despite this potentially disastrous effect, there are opportunities online courses have presented to so many people around the world. Online courses open doors to people who would otherwise have to give up on their dreams of higher education.

An example is a single mother who barely survives by working two jobs to provide for her children. She does not have the money to hire a babysitter while she attends night classes. However, with online classes, she can work on a college degree while her young children sleep. Online classes are more convenient for the worker that works until 3:00 am and has little time before and after work to study. Driven, disciplined, non-traditional students can derive great benefit from the ability to attend class when they can, wherever they have internet access.

Furthermore, potential students should not shun the idea of online classes if it can help them further their education. Students who may be considering online classes should think carefully about what it is they need from a course. If they want to speak to a professor directly to get their questions answered, have the availability at the same time each week to attend a course, and prefer not to perform additional writing assignments each week, then an online course may not be for them.

On the other hand, if a potential student works for a company that is not willing to work around a school schedule, childcare is not available, or they simply do not want to drive to class in the evening, an online course may be the perfect solution. There are many pros and cons that are part of the decision-making process on whether or not to take an online course. Taking an online course should not be a decision that a student jumps into without carefully considering all the factors involved.

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Online Courses: the Pros and Cons. (2017, Feb 17). Retrieved from

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