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A professor working with students, taken from U.S. News.

A professor working with students, taken from U.S. News.

U.S. News Posted an article listing the mistakes students make when signing up for online classes.

Some of the major mistakes made by students included:

  • Not scheduling enough time to study in addition to looking at necessary materials
  • Cheating because there is not a present incentive not to
  • Committing to a course without knowing if their technology can keep up with the course
  • Being unrealistic about their learning styles

These are all very base level—and seemingly obvious—mistakes that students make, but it made me wonder what went deeper when it came to online courses. This study from Columbia University found that students typically had difficulty in online courses due to the lack of clear communication from instructors, so expectations were ambiguous and therefore not met by students. Without clear expectations set many students are doomed to fail at the start of an online course if their thought processes do not align with the instructors. Traditional classroom courses offer more easily accessible, face-to-face, intellectual discourse not only with instructors, but with peers as well.

College students working together in the classroom, from TeachThought.

College students working together in the classroom, from TeachThought.

Importance of face-to-face communication in educational situations is shown in this “American Journal of Distance Education” study, which found that students felt like they were more engaged in the course and learned more in face-to-face settings compared to online courses. This study also shows the necessity for open and accessible lines of communication between students and course instructors—something that online courses are still lacking.

Hand-in-hand with the importance of communication with instructors goes the importance of communicating with classmates, which is highly limited in online courses.

Online courses do not offer the same opportunities for communication and collaboration that traditional course settings do. These differences in course styles leave students feeling a lack of experience, engagement and knowledge gained, making online courses less beneficial to college students than attending face-to-face courses.

Long story short, you should really go to class.

Jessica Thompson