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Yang 1 Lan Yang Kristen Foster CO150.

400 30 October 2013 Do the benefits of online teaching overcome it drawbacks With the extremely rapid rate of technological growth in the last 20 years, people are now enjoying one of the greatest technological booms in human history. Not surprisingly, the way people live their lives has been revolutionized by the recent development of technology. Technology has proven its importance and displayed the endless possibilities it presents for society. In the field of education, online learning is becoming more dominant and heavily debated as it expands out of the traditional classroom and towards anyone with access to the Internet around the world. While some are embracing the wonders of the Internet and how it can add creative approaches to teaching, others argue machines cannot replace the human element. As a college student who now has the opportunity to choose online courses, I am considering whether to take them in the future. For this reason, this issue interests me especially, so I made the subject of online teaching of higher education in US my main topic. I would like to compare the benefits and detriments of online learning to help me make future decisions. Before I focus on the advantages and disadvantages of online learning, I need to have a basic understanding of this topic. I turned to the excelsior education website by searching what is online learning on Google for an understanding of the subject. The website states that online learning are correspondence courses that are offered over the Internet, and course materials are provided on a Web site using email, bulletin boards, forums, and chat rooms to interact with

Yang 2 other students and teachers while online courses can take place anywhere with the access of Internet (What). Having a basic understanding of what online education is, I searched with the term statistics of online classes on Google, and I found a report from 2012. There are some striking findings include the following, which I quoted from this website: 69% of colleges are offering online teaching. 150% increase in the number of students selecting distance-learning courses as a part of their regular college curriculum between 1998 and 2008. 65% of students have taken online classes. (Gutierrez) The statistics reveals theres a rapidly increasing rate of taking online education. Though I had known there are a significant number of students choosing to receive this kind of education, 65 percent is still a surprising figure. I started to think because such a large group is making the same decision; taking online classes should have more benefits than detriments. Since there are a considerable number of colleges that offer online teaching, I thought I should analyze why administrators of universities choose to provide it. I started by reading a periodical article, "The Excellent Inevitability of Online Courses." from Chronicle of Higher Education. The author presents eight reasons that college should offer online education, such as online learning can make students actively engaged in learning, learn how to research independently by using technological skills and make colleges more accessible to students.(Brooks A64). This source gives me plenty of good reasons as to why colleges should employ online teaching. However, there is a lack of evidence to back up its claims, since it heavily relied on the authors opinion. Due to this, I found an op-ed essay "Revolution Hits the Universities." from New York Times. The author illuminates the benefits of online teaching by

Yang 3 presenting responses from both students and teachers who have experiences about online classes. He states that online teaching can provide educational opportunities for students who are suffering from mental disabilities such as autism, and increase interactions with students from different cultures (Friedman). These two sources gave me a clear picture of why colleges have employed online teaching, and I proceeded to focus on why students chose online courses instead of traditional classes. In my opinion, the most important reason to study courses online might be that the cost of online education is relatively lower than traditional on-campus schooling. Not every student can afford the expensive schooling fees to continue his/her education. They may want to find a way to alleviate the economic pressure on their families. By searching with the keywords drop school and high tuition fees on Google, I located an article titled The New York Times Lectures California About Online Courses -- and It's Wrong." from The Huffington Post. According to a statistic made by a college dean in 2013, 45 percent of American college students are dropping out of colleges (Connelly). The cause behind this shocking value is that college tuition and fees are far too much in a time of economic decline (Connelly). However, when I compare my experience of studying on campus with distance teaching, I realized that I had ignored the drawbacks brought by cheaper online classes. Theres nothing that can be absolutely good. The lower cost of online course might not provide what we need. Studying on campus can give us the access to various resources and services. For instance, I can browse or rent books in the library, work out at the recreation center to get some excise, visit the writing center if I have a hard time with the writing assignment and so forth. But we cant get these services while receiving online education. I also a found periodical article titled "Why Online Education Won't Replace College--Yet. through the Academic Search Premier

Yang 4 Database. The author claims that college degrees have become less valuable since online course help people get the diplomas easily (Youngberg). So studying online could be a waste of money, deprive the previously mentioned services from me and make the resulting diplomas less valuable. I started to hesitate whether the benefits of taking online classes have overcome its drawbacks. I decided to continue my research to explore more about the advantages of it. Another good feature of online courses is the flexibility offered by them. I found a forum at debate.org titled Is Online Education as Effective as Traditional On-campus Schooling? (Online Education), where people share their different opinions about this topic and a student said that he enjoyed online education because he had total control of it: he could take the classes according to his schedule, complete assignments or take the exams according to his convenience (Online Education). This sounds great to me since online learning does not have the constraints of a traditional classroom. I will be able to login to a class at a time that is most convenient for me, even if I am in China during the summer break. But after having some second thoughts, I realized the flexibility of online learning might not be good for me since it demands more responsibility. The greater freedom of online classes requires greater self-disciplines, but not everybody has them. For example, a friend of mine procrastinated and hadnt started working on Math126 till one week before the deadline of that online class. At the end, she received a U in that course. If students gain too much freedom, they could become complacent and more irresponsible like what happened here. To further my thoughts on this point, I found an academic journal titled Characteristics of Online Education and Traditional Education." from Life Science Journal. The author claims The comfort of studying from home may also reflect negatively on your motivation to do your best. (Behzadi et al 56). I agree with this because there are always unexpected distractions at my home. I could be

Yang 5 easily distracted by the noise made by my cats or the sound of a TV program or even the inclination to take a nap and rest. I was unsure about whether studying online was a wise choice for me. So I returned to researching once again to help me make the final decision. The next two sources I found state other advantages that I had not thought about studying online. The first article reports data from a survey collected from 260 students who are taking online classes in the US, claims that online learning promotes interactions of students from all over the world (Journell 72). My second source, Strengths of online learning states that the use of interactive learning environment (Illinois Online Network) contributes to self-direction and critical thinking. But as far as I am concerned, all of these can be achieved only if the student has self-discipline and thus maximize the benefits of online education. I was fortunate to come upon a resourceful article by searching through Google scholar. It is a peer-reviewed article published on World Rural Observation. The authors, who based much of their information on previous studies and other pre-established research into the area, argue that online courses are not for everyone; they are more suited for the self-motivators (Khodamoradi, Mohammad 95). The article also lists those who suit online classes best, as I quote from it below: Disciplined students with excellent time management skills who do not need teachers and strict predetermined programs to do their best. Students who wish to study in a specific country or institution which is otherwise not accessible to them (geographic convenience). Students who cannot afford traditional education Online schools are generally less expensive.

Yang 6 Students who dislike campus requirements. Although for many, the campus life is the best time of their life, some people prefer the privacy of their homes. Online education is ideal for them. Students who cannot afford traditional education due to busy professional or personal schedules. (Khodamoradi, Mohammad 96) For me, a student who has the opportunity to study aboard and have the access to online learning, I dont think I am suitable for taking online courses, since I am not confident with my self-discipline and time management skills. Before I began the research, I thought online classes had many benefits and I shouldnt hesitate to take it in the future. However, after learning both the benefits and detriments and weighing both, I found I may not qualify for this kind of learning. I still want to look further into what online education cannot provide compare to traditional on-campus learning in order to strengthen my decision.

Yang 7 Work Cited Behzadi, Zeynab, et al. "Characteristics of Online Education and Traditional Education." Life Science Journal (2011): 56.ERIC. Web. 10 Oct. 2013. Brooks, Margaret. "The Excellent Inevitability of Online Courses." Chronicle of Higher Education 55.38 (2009): A64. Academic Search Premier. Web. 8 Oct. 2013. Connelly, Terry. "The New York Times Lectures California About Online Courses -- and It's Wrong." The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post, 4 April. 2013. Web. 9 Oct. 2013. Friedman, Thomas L. "Revolution Hits the Universities." New York Times. New York Times, 27 Jan. 2013. Web. 8 Oct. 2013. Gutierrez, Karla 18 Mind-Blowing eLearning Statistics You Need to Know.SHIFTs eLearning Blog, 29 Nov 2012. Web. 6 Oct. 2013. Journell, W. (2010). Perceptions of e-learning in secondary education: A viable alternative to classroom instruction or a way to bypass engaged learning? Educational Media International, 47, 69-81. Khodamoradi, Sharareh, and Mohammad Abedi. Online Classes VS Traditional Classes: Comparison between the Two Methods. World Rural Observation 4.4 (2012): 93-99. 25 Dec 2012. Web. 20 Oct. 2013. Online Education is Much Better Than Classroom Learning. Debate. N.p.,n.d. Web.10 Oct. 2013. Strengths of online learning (2010). Illinois Online Network and the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. Web. 20 Oct. 2013. What is Online Learning (2013).Excelsior College.Web. 6 Oct. 2013.

Yang 8 Youngberg, David. "Why Online Education Won't Replace College--Yet." Chronicle of Higher Education 58.44 (2012): 24. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Oct. 2013.

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