Higher education

university life

A couple of months ago I finished my first semester in a teaching certification program at a local college. It was my first time taking online classes, and it was an experience. I found that I don’t really like online courses, or at least not the way these were taught. There was no classroom instruction. Rather, we were given a series of assignments to complete, based on our readings or classroom observations (if we were in a practicum course).

I think the program would be much better if instructors taught via webinars and video presentations. Students could then call in to the webinar with questions, we’d still have the opportunity to be lectured to, and we’d be able to interact with our fellow classmates.

Also, the work was incredibly easy. All we had to do was turn in assignments and we’d pass the course. Maybe I’m used to harder material and harder teaching methods, having gone to a “top” university for undergrad. Or maybe this program just isn’t that challenging (and maybe that’s the way they want it).

More recently I ran into problems enrolling in one of the courses. It was a week into the course and apparently once you’ve missed that much it’s too difficult to catch up. I pleaded my case – that I needed this course now in order to complete the program on time (and other reasons), that I was confident I could (easily) pass the course despite missing that week, and that it should be up to the student to take that (fairly low) risk. But it was a no go, which annoys me.

In order to help me reach my goals, I was offered a chance to take some classes if I signed a form promising to pay back any federal financial aid I received should I not fulfill a minor requirement (even if I completed, passed, and paid for said classes using that financial aid). Luckily, contracts class in law school (and the red flags popping up all around), made me refuse to sign the questionable document. I likened it to signing a blank check.

On the bright side, I think I’ve found a feasible way to make up for lost time by  taking a heavier courseload in the fall.

What’s interesting to me is how difficult it’s been to handle administrative things with this college, as opposed to undergrad and even law school. Perhaps it’s because it’s a small college. Or maybe times have changed since I’ve gone to school, and a college education is less about education and more about red tape. The last time I was in college was only about five years ago, though.

In any event, I‘ve learned a valuable lesson. If I want a higher education in this manner, I’ll have to take control of my own learning and anticipate the red tape ahead of time. Then I’ll be better prepared to argue my case when problems arise.

Have you taken classes at a small college? What about online classes? Has your experience been smooth sailing or rocky?


16 Responses to “Higher education”

  1. Mia says:

    I still believe that traditional classes are more efficient than online classes. First of all you interact better with the teacher, if you have questions he can answer them according to what you already know, and also the evaluation is more correct and thorough.

  2. I agree, it can be highly frustrating when you are not challenged in a course but ask yourself, would you rather it be extremely hard and stress you out every day? Maybe you’ve gone to a top undergrad college and you deserve a break ;)

  3. I don’t think online classes will ever replace traditional classes. Great Topic!

  4. Dave says:

    Great post but I agree with the others. Don’t think online will ever replace the “social” aspect of traditional class time. I think its great for some people (distant learning) but ultimately a draw back.
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  5. Jenny says:

    Online classes can be better that traditional ones! First of all you aren’t stocked with a program, if you miss one class usually they have registered webinar. And about the fact that when learning in the traditional way you can ask the teacher if you don’t understand something.. you can also do that in online classes. As youc can tell I am a big fan of online classes and e-learning.

  6. Nice, keep posting such stuff in the future as well. i will be looking at you
    ps: i think online classes can replace traditional ones to some people, it depends from a person who is going to use such classes
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  7. I agree with Jenny, with the cavaent that you ened to do your research to weed out the good ones from the snake oil peddlars that are giving this emerging way to educate a bad reputation.

  8. online classes may not be better than traditional one for some people but sometimes we cant find some thing which we need most. at that time online classes are very useful.

  9. celine says:

    I a great time in college..It is really nice and better if there is an interaction for a certain discussion. It makes the topic easier to understand. With regards to the on line classes, I think it is also good as long as you have a reliable teacher.

  10. I dont think online classes can compete with traditional ways yet :)

  11. This topic is really interesting, for me I still believe that traditional classes is more enjoyable and challenging where in you can learn more from it. I really appreciate when there is a lively class participation that’s happening, it tickles my mind which made me to actively participate and be open minded on all the question and answers. There is more learning that’s happening in a traditional class than in an online class. It’s really different that your in a traditional classroom set up than in an online class. Your article simply made me think and bring back the memories during my college days or my higher education.
    Thanks for this post!
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  12. You should try other online classes since there are many available online. Some online classes have conferences and other online interactions which makes it more interesting and classroom-like. I love online classes since I could still take care of my family while doing something for myself as well.

  13. Kyle says:

    I would have to agree with alot of you in the fact that online classes will never replace traditional schooling, however there are companies like StraighterLine that are coupling online learning for highly reduced rate than most traditional schooling tuition then the opportunity to transfer to a campus. That is think is the healthiest and best combination for anyone. Being able to save money, but still getting the best of both experiences while saving money. Everyone should check out StraighterLine if they have any reservations about online college courses.

  14. I don’t think online courses can ever fully replace the full higher education experience. That being said, however, I think they are a great tool for those who are returning to school from the workplace and have families. The flexibility they offer is great and usually they aren’t nearly as expensive as attending on campus. They are also a great tool to supplement on campus work. You can crank out some of the less intense, but still necessary to graduate classes with ease.

  15. The question that I had running through my mind while reading your misfortunes is: “How long has this particular college been offering online courses?” I was just wondering because maybe if it is relatively new to the school they are just working out some glitches.

  16. Hi,
    I agree with your proposal of webcam, it is a great idea of online classes. I really like it………!!!