In 2011, I made the decision to get a college education and expand my career choices. I believe having an education is very important, if you want to be successful in your life. When looking at which school I was going to attend, I had to look at all aspects of my education. One of the first questions I asked myself was should I attend an online school or go to a traditional school? There two choices when looking to obtain a college education; the choices are online education or a traditional education.
Online and traditional educations have many similarities but their differences with classroom settings, classmate interaction, and the instruction methods can be difficult for many people. The most important difference of online and traditional education would be the classroom setting. Online classes are defined as courses that are offered primarily or exclusively through the Internet. (Blank, 2012) Online students can learn from anywhere, they have access to a computer with Internet access.
A student can turn in homework, take an exam and listen to a lecture while at home, traveling with the family or even sitting in the waiting room of a doctor's office. Students can complete their classwork at any time of day to fit any schedule. An online education may be best for you if you are a single parent, have a busy schedule, or you want to learn at your own pace. Some online learners may find online classes boring and have difficulty concentrating on the material that needs to be remembered. For these students a traditional education may be a better match.
Traditional classes are taught in a classroom setting. With traditional education, you are going to a designated classroom and at precise dates and times. Students who choose a traditional education will have to schedule work, appointments, and other errands so they do not interfere with scheduled class times. Students who want the classic college experience by meeting new friends in a face-to-face environment and spending time at a brick-and-mortar campus may prefer taking traditional, in-person classes.
Almost as important, would be the difference in classroom interaction. Online classroom interaction takes place with new technology such as online video, instant messaging and online chat forums. (Flaherty, 1999) The students can connect with one another and the teacher through different forums. You will post all your assignments and anything for your instructor in a forum. If you need help with an online class, you have to e-mail your instructor and wait for a reply. Your instructor will usually reply with an answer within 24 hours.
Some students do not feel comfortable about discussing the lessons in front of a class, and with online classes they can express opinions that add new insights to the class. If students lose their Internet service or if they have problems accessing the courses, they will not be able to attend their classes. Students who select an online education can attend study sessions with other students in a chat room setting or through an instant message system. Online study groups tend to be more formal, since students who learn online often do so in order to accommodate career or family related needs.
Traditional classes provide interaction between students and instructors face-to-face during scheduled class periods. Class attendance is essential to success in the program. Making up or retrieving information will usually require scheduling time with the instructor and completing make up assignments. If students are not able to attend a class because of a scheduling conflict, they may miss important information the instructor discussed that day. Student may also miss out on getting documents needed to complete assignments if unable to attend class.
If you need help with a traditional education class, you can visit your instructor during office hours, and have everything explained so you can understand what is being asked of you. Many students, who choose traditional education, learn best by pairing with peers in study groups that often meet in stimulating settings that involve laughter, pizza or flirting. Just as important are the differences in the instruction methods. Online courses are primarily self-taught, with students completing lessons and assignments at their own pace and submitting their work through a website or by e-mail.
If you are a visual learner and if you have good reading retention, an online class can work out well for you. Online institutions usually use advanced computer software to provide immediate feedback for online quizzes. Receiving immediate feedback allows students to understand their weaknesses and strengths, and plan their studies accordingly. (Withers, 2012) Online learning builds on the knowledge students already have allowing them to form concrete associations to new information, which improves retention.
Traditional course instruction gives students opportunities for hands-on learning, such as science experiments and real times responses from instructors or students. Students who learn better with pen and paper and teacher interaction will do best. While computers are difficult to avoid, students are able to reduce their experience with computers by receiving a traditional on-campus instruction. Students will take tests on campus, the test are often hand-graded. Instructors will provide students with the test results usually over the next four or five days of class.
Traditional classrooms are not accessible 24 hours a day, so if a student forgets work in the classroom he/she cannot go and get it. This can cause a students work to be late or not completed. A drawback of traditional classes is that it inherently places the most value on standards, curriculum and passing tests as opposed to student-focused learning. In the writing I have discussed the differences between online education and traditional education. I hope I am leaving you with a little insight to the differences with classroom setting, classroom interaction, and classroom instruction methods.
It is very important to do all the research you can when choosing the option that is right for you. It is as important to look at all the resources available, when trying to decide if online education or traditional education will work best for you. There are many resources available online for those looking to further their education If you are considering a college education it is just as important to talk with family and friends for their opinions or concerns about which option will work best for your lifestyle. You need to consider all aspects of your education such as your best learning style and environment.