Pros and Cons of Online Courses

Pros and Cons of Online Courses

Used under creative commons license.
Used under creative commons license.

 Staff Writer 

Take learning into your own hands. SNU instructor Sheila Stout says that trying an online course might not only get you the credit you need at a flexible time but also help you gain confidence using technology that enables learning at a fast pace.

Stout has a degree in speech communication. She has a master’s degree in both communication education as well as marriage and family therapy. She says that speech and drama were her first love.

Stout believes there are many reasons students should try an online course. First, there is the idea that an online course gives a student a lot of flexibility.

“They give you flexibility in terms of your scheduling for the semester. If your schedule is packed, and your days get full, you can still have a flexible schedule in that you can attend and earn 3 hours in a class but yet it doesn’t take up time in your schedule like a traditional 16 week course might,” she says. When it comes to online classes, there is not a set time that you have to “come to class” so to speak. You have assignments that are due. You can attend class at 2 am in your pajamas if you like.

Second, it provides a different kind of learning environment.

“I think that in our world today we are going to see more and more access to information through technology. So, the fact that you have had the experience learning in an online environment gives you that advantage over someone who might not when it comes to the workforce, where you are expected to do training to continue your education” Stout affirms.

On the other hand, the cons of an online course at SNU include the time period. Most online classes here are 6 week courses – they go very rapidly.

“There is a tremendous amount of information in a 6 week course that you would normally learn in a 16 week course” says Stout. She warns against taking an online course with unrealistic expectations. “There is still a lot of work to do, and less time to get it done.”

Unfortunately, you can not make up any assignments in an online course. If you miss a week in a course, you have missed a large portion of points.

When compared to other universities, online courses offered here at SNU excel.

According to Stout, many instructors from other universities have noted that SNU has done an incredible job in several ways: they have adequately prepared the teaching faculty with a thorough training process and they have required the faculty to keep up the continuing education and trends so that faculty skills and knowledge of an online course stay current. SNU is also well known for online courses that are well-organized.