The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
Print Issues
Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
Print Issues

Online courses offer options for busy students

By Jeffrey Jenkins

Students are some of the busiest individuals in the world. We are expected to go to school, write papers, take tests, study constantly, work at least one job, sometimes raise children and still maintain a high GPA.

With tuition increasing and gas prices again slowly rising, it makes it all the more difficult for some students to find time to do all of the above. Online courses offer a more economical approach to higher education for the ultrabusy student professionals. Although often criticized for their lack of quality and personal attention from online instructors, online classes can be beneficial for busy students, especially those who are required to pay for their own education.

Recently in higher education there has been an upward trend in the number of online classes students are taking. A study done by the Sloan Consortium in November 2008 revealed that 3.9 million students in the fall of 2007 took at least one online class, a 12 percent increase from the previous year. The study also noted that this increase far surpasses the 1.2 percent growth rate in the total higher education population. More students are opting to take courses online in order to save a commute, which eats up valuable time and money.

The U has also seen a rise in the number of students taking online courses. According to the UOnline statistics page, the Spring Semester of 2009 saw an increase of 19.8 percent from the previous year, bringing the total number of online students to 6,394. In addition, there are now 206 online courses offered at the U, which is an increase of 27 classes from the previous year.

Joseph Buchanan, associate director of the Technology Assisted Curriculum Center, said online courses offer students a convenient way of working around jobs or other time constraints.

Even with these increases, not all online classes are created equal. There are many online universities that sell expensive online degrees that are worth less than the paper bag they are printed on. Fully utilizing the benefits of online courses accreditation is essential.

Many criticize the lack of interaction between the instructor and the student. Buchanan said many students actually interact better and more often with professors in an online setting. The TACC stresses that online instructors need to be more available than a traditional instructor is required to be. With the increased use of online video technology such as Apple’s iChat or the free application SKYPE, online classes in the future will have all the same elements that a traditional face-to-face class has now, except it will allow students to attend class from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Many individuals have attached a stigma to the idea of online education, as if it is somehow less of an education than a traditional course. However, most classes that U students take are a hybrid of online and traditional elements. WEBCT allows professors to post lecture notes, readings and even quizzes for students to take and utilize outside of the classroom. The only difference is that students are physically present during a lecture, which could be just as easily broadcast through an online video viewer.

The real benefit of online courses is the amount of money saved by students who decrease their commute time. The U does not offer a fully online degree, but Buchanan said that some departments are contemplating offering one in the future. However, students are still able to commute less to campus as a result of taking an online class. An online degree would cater to nontraditional students a welcomed step to increasing higher education opportunities. The stigmas attached to online degrees can only last so long, and the more students who acquire them and enter the work force, the faster the stigma can be refuted.

So if you are a mix of student, employee and parent, online courses will offer you greater autonomy to pursue other necessary endeavors8212;all while continuing to expand your knowledge with education.

[email protected]

Jeffrey Jenkins

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

The Daily Utah Chronicle welcomes comments from our community. However, the Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to accept or deny user comments. A comment may be denied or removed if any of its content meets one or more of the following criteria: obscenity, profanity, racism, sexism, or hateful content; threats or encouragement of violent or illegal behavior; excessively long, off-topic or repetitive content; the use of threatening language or personal attacks against Chronicle members; posts violating copyright or trademark law; and advertisement or promotion of products, services, entities or individuals. Users who habitually post comments that must be removed may be blocked from commenting. In the case of duplicate or near-identical comments by the same user, only the first submission will be accepted. This includes comments posted across multiple articles. You can read more about our comment policy at https://dailyutahchronicle.com/comment-faqs/.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *