A Primer on Online Vs. Traditional Classes
Would you rather take an online class or be physically in a classroom?
Angelo State has a wide array of classes, and some can be taken online. When you are in the registration process and you have a choice to go online or have a class with meeting dates, you need to sit and think about what you want to do.
Here are some of the main things to consider.
1. What kind of learner are you?
If you consider nothing else, think about your preferred way to learn.
There are tons of different theories on learning styles, but in an effort to keep this simple, let’s just go with Neil Fleming’s popular VAK model. The three styles of learning are Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic (or hands-on).
If you are a visual learner, maybe reading your textbook is enough for you. When you are reading the words that are laid out in front of you, are they immediately branded into your brain? If you are a visual learner, then most online classes should be good for you considering that for the most part you would be reading and not listening.
Next is auditory learning. If you would prefer that I call you and read this article to you then, yes, you are an auditory learner. You probably soak the professor’s words through your ears into your brain like a sponge. You might want to keep away from online classes. It really depends on the professor. Some post videos of themselves doing the work or teaching the lesson online, which may benefit your learning style.
And last is the kinesthetic learner. (I fall under this category.) Can you not quite get the fact that x=2 even though you have looked at it 30 times? Did your professor have to reveal how he does this magic trick and then you have to do it yourself right after? If so, then it might be best if you take a traditional math class. An online math class for us would just be a disaster.
There are exceptions to all of these, of course, and you could be a combination of two or three learning styles. Your decision could depend on other factors, as well.
2. Which class are you taking?
The type of class plays another major part in your internal debate of online versus traditional. This can best be explained with a true story of something I went through.
It was my second semester, and I had just finished a pretty easy online BCIS class. I decided I wanted more online experience so I registered for a required math class online, Elementary Statistics. Boy, was that a mistake!
I did not take my learning style into account. I am a kinesthetic learner and have to do the work alongside a professor. I could not learn how to do a math problem by looking at the book and trying to learn it myself. I did try and I had emails sent to me from the professor attempting to explain, but those efforts were wasted as well since they could not do me any good. I ended up dropping that class and it was a waste of time for me.
A situation where online was a good option for my learning style was when I took a class called communication technologies. It has a book for the visual learners, dates to talk to your professor via webcam for the auditory learners, and opportunities to go hands-on with coursework for the kinesthetic learners. There also were scheduled dates for you to collaborate with classmates as well as your professor to get an understanding of the class.
Overall, it was an easy class to keep up with and understand. This is also a case where I would say it would be easy for all learning types, since there is a lot of different learning styles incorporated in this class. It also had a great professor that accommodated to the needs of the students.
3. How do you communicate with professors?
Unlike some universities, Angelo State University has faculty who are very personal and caring. Think of professors as people who are guiding you through an obstacle course. They can sit on the sidelines and tell you how to climb over the wall of coursework you are facing, but ultimately you’re going to have to do it.
You can ask them questions any time but how often do you ask? Are you somewhat independent and can figure out things on your own? If so, an online class could be preferable. If you need explanations often, then you might want to register for a traditional class where your professor is readily available.
4. What is your availability?
Is it summer and you want to go on vacation? Take the class online. I personally had to consider that this past summer. I had a vacation planned but I also had to take two classes over the summer. Although it was difficult, I stayed on track and planned out my homework days carefully. This is a pretty risky option as well, but it’s not always the case.
If you have a job that may conflict with your school schedule, taking an online class is also a way to reduce the amount of class time you have to commit to during the week.
So there you have it. There are some major things to consider while registering for classes. Of course, all of those things depend on you and your life, but these are things you need to think about. The choice is yours, thank you for reading and may you have an epic semester!