I have taken several online classes, and I’ve had both good and bad experiences. For some students, like those with children, who work a lot or are commuter students, online classes can be a saving grace. Working at home and being able to read and take notes on your own time makes it easier for some college students to succeed. Personally, I take online classes because I like being able to work at my own pace and have a more flexible schedule.
However, there’s also some downsides to online classes, and I believe they’re mainly due to a disconnect between professors and students.
One of my main issues with online classes is that professors think it’s a cop out for teaching. They simply think they are there to post assignments on Canvas and grade them, and that’s not how it should be. They should be explaining things and helping students understand their lessons.
On more than one occasion with more than one professor, I’ve emailed a question about an assignment and did not get a reply until after the assignment was due. How is that supposed to help? Other times, I’ve gotten replies like, “Read the assignment description” when I have specified that I already read it several times and still was unsure. I understand that this is college, and professors aren’t supposed to hold our hand and do everything for us, but they should be helping us if we’re confused.
I think there’s also a general lack of communication between professors and students in online classes. Once, I went to an online professor’s office hours because I was having a hard time with an assignment in the class, and the professor wasn’t there. I waited about 15 minutes, and they still had not shown up. There was no note on the door, so I expected an email or Canvas message saying that office hours were canceled, but I never heard anything.
In my opinion, professors who teach online classes should be required to have longer office hours than those that teach in person to prevent the professor from getting lazy and to ensure that the professor has adequate time to communicate with students. Before, I have had to wait in a line of about five people to see a professor who taught online classes. Luckily, no one needed to talk with her for long; otherwise she, would have likely had to leave before everyone could see her.
For those students who have to take online classes, go to office hours, even if it means waiting in a long line. Set reminders for every assignment. The most common yet easily avoidable mistake in an online class is forgetting to do an assignment. I would also recommend getting in contact with your fellow online classmates. If you aren’t hearing back from a professor, someone in the class will probably be able to help you.