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Table of Contents

Get Started...3

Getting the Right Feedback...4

Socializing For a Better Future.7

Traditional Classroom and You13

Its Time do decide.16

Works Cited....17

Photo Index.................18

Get Started
In this day and age many students are looking into online classes to pursue their higher education. The study, "Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011," reports that more than 6.1 million students took at least one online class during fall 2010, significant increasing in 10.1 percent over the year before. Some students assume that online class will save them a lot of money. Others might think if they already have the basic knowledge and are quite sure to perform excellently in class, why do they have to waste time going to traditional classroom. Another reason for this deviation is many students want to stay in their comfort zone and are afraid to explore the new environment. I agree with this line of thinking, however, when putting everything under consideration, I realize that online learning is an uncompleted version. Its missing some important elements that cannot be found elsewhere beside traditional classroom.

Getting The Right Feedback

One of the most important aspects of being in school is to learn. Knowledge is the key to understand problems, correcting mistakes, and opening our horizon to do better things. However, without the proper feedback, how can you know if something has gone wrong? Lets take coding in Java as an example. Java is a series of scripted events just like an action movie. They have to be in an appropriate order; otherwise, youll have a random explosion in a quiet scene. Many different codes, like the special effects, props, and characters in movies, they can get really confusing if you dont have a
Figure 1

proper plan. Then once the plan is

done, you just write the code by following your guide until its finished, but even then there are moments where you get the opposite of what you want. The problem now is how can you fix a mistake? Mistakes are something that happens to all of us. Making a mistake is easy as eating a piece of cake. Weve all had those moments when we have misspelled a

5 word, said something wrong to someone accidentally, or even press the selfdestruction switch that blows up the entire base in five minutes. Mistakes can and will happen whether they are big or small. Thats where feedback comes into play and becomes an important role. Thus, the best solution would be talking to a teacher. If you're in an online class, the only way to get help is sending an e-mail. Sometimes, the teachers can be very quick to answer and may even be able to help you out, though there still many teachers who never seem to respond fast enough and some may not even understand the problem or want you
Figure 2

to solve it on your own. What do you do

then? This question is the most common problem with online class as there is a lack of on-time feedback. In fact, online instructors are strongly dependent on computers and others electronic device. Because Im taking some online classes, I understand th is inconvenience. One of my instructors sets up an email alert on her cellphone and is able to answer my questions as long as she notices the sound. Another instructor is really late on giving feedback and replying e-mail. While waiting for her to reply, I have to put her class on the side and continue to do the homework from another

6 class. Even when I need the answer immediately to have a completed review for the upcoming test, my hope is in vain. Also, not all online instructors are computer proficiency. Computers, which are the only way to connect to students, may shut down for some reasons, viruses, for instance. If they dont know how to get rid of viruses, how can they keep in contact with students? Does this mean we should stop taking online class? No, it just means that many students are ignoring certain benefits they may receive in classroom. Lets go back to the topic of mistake correcting and see the benefits of being in a class. Now, obviously there is the fact that the teacher is right there and you can ask questions, however, you can also pick up information through other students questions. You can also talk to your neighbors and some of them are even willing to help you out on things that you're getting stumped on. Plus, being in the room with an experienced
Figure 3

teacher can help you improve simply by watching what they do and how they do it. Its just like the old saying goes: monkey sees, monkey does.

Socializing For a Better Future

Although online students can achieve a good education, many of them werent taught how to apply their new skills to real life. Yes, they are prepared to build hard skills, however the employers need more than that. They would rather go with those who also acquired good social skills. That is the reason why in-class setting takes a step forward. When students encounter a college environment, they experience a face to face interaction which helps them utilize their communication skills. Actually, communication is not as easy as we used
Figure 4

to think, in fact, it still needs to practice

and improve. In the article The Benefits of Face-to-Face Communication, Virginette Acacio mentions that over 90% of how we communicate is through nonverbal cues like gestures and facial expressions. To communicate successfully, there must be the combination between verbal and non-verbal languages. Body language is important in communication and relationships. People judge the others by listening to the way they talk, the expressions on their face, and

8 the way they move their body. Classroom setting are designed to provide the students with opportunity for developing these skills. I cant say that there is no interaction in distance learning; however, its limited. Let's take my experience as an example. I had a graded discussion in the very first module on canvas early in this semester which allowed students and instructor to introduce themselves. To be honest, I didnt spend a lot of time looking at the post of other students. After I finished my task, I just glanced at a few comments. In fact, I got grade without getting to know anyone seriously in the class. Online classes also offer video conference once or twice a week. Its a chance for students to communicate directly to their peers and teacher. However, it turned out to be less effective due to some reasons. Students choose to take online class mostly
Figure 5

because they are unable to be in a place at a set time, but video conference is subject to be stable. How can student catch up if the set-up time conflicts with their work? The video conference usually lasts for one hour, no more or no less. Many students have their own questions and it may take more than the designated time

9 for teacher to answer. Not to mention the fact that learning from a distance like this may lead students to misunderstanding. Voice interruption and lacking of internet signal are some of these disturbances. Moreover, Haythornthwaite and colleagues (2000) mention in Journal of Computer Mediated Communication that the advantage of online interaction may not be recognized because the connection among the learners is absent. A group of students reported that when they failed to make online connection with other learners in their group, they felt isolated and more stressed (Ya Ni). Following the old-fashion setting improves interpersonal relationship. Yes, friendship does contribute a great part in the success of a person. No one can live without a friend, and college campus is great place for students to get to know their peers. Salt Lake Community College, for example, assists 60,000 students to pursue their higher education (About SLCC). The more students attend college, the more chance that student has to make friends. Higher educational environment allows students the ability to expand their social network. As long as you keep a good relationship with people around, you may get unexpected
Figure 6

10 benefits. You never know how big the social network of the persons you are talking to could be. Possibly, they may use their social network to help you out. The following story is what I experienced. Attending college in the second semester, I wanted to explore the real world by looking for a job on campus. However, when searching for a job in the student employment portal on the SLCC website, I figured out that none of those posted jobs fit me because Im an international student. Coincidentally, I met two friends that I already knew when I stopped by International Student Services. We kept talking and chatting about how everything was going. I later realized that they barely got a job on campus after coming here two month. As I shared my story and wish to have a job, they helped me out by telling me the job they got and encourage me to apply for it. Since then, I now know that
Figure 7

there are certain jobs that dont require much ability and knowledge like they were posted. To cut a long story short, I got a job from my networking. Sometimes you may not see your classmates every day you go to class, but you always see your teacher for sure. They are the ones who grade your assignment and notice your improvements. By showing your strengths and good

11 attitude through attending and participate in class-activities, teachers will be able to evaluate and give you reference to complete your Resume. Of course online instructors can be a reliable reference; however, everything they know about you is very limited. They cant recognize your skills due to lacking of interaction. In other words, if you want to finish the classes as an outstanding student and gain recognition, you better go with tradition setting. Attending classroom helps you practice in-group exercises. Students have more opportunity to show their strength which is formally defined as the influence to others. Once you let people know what you can contribute, they automatically recognize how useful and how important you are in the group project. According to Warschauer, the interaction in an online environment is less intimidating between individuals, therefore it has less pressure on students than does interaction in a faceFigure 8

to-face setting (Ya Ni).

However, it seems like an excuse of students. To become a successful student in college, they need to improve their weaknesses. They may feel awkward or uncomfortable when speaking in front of the class. As an international student, I

12 really understand because language is the big barrier in communication. However, as time goes by, everything gets better. The more I expose to English, the more I improve myself. Yes Im still afraid of asking question in class, but I can talk in person with the teacher after hours. Some students go for online class because their perspective for traditional classrooms is distraction. Yes, friends and relationship will prevent them from studying well. Hanging out with friend instead of going to class, for instance, will result in bad grades in college. However, classroom should not to be blamed. Individual discipline is what needs to be concerned. If a student tends to over socialize, they will do it no matter what setting they are in. Both classroom and
Figure 9

online cant control their mind to stay on studying. The responsibility must belong to students. If students go to school for studying and hope to have a good record, they have to acquire the ability to stay in balance. Finding the middle point between education and entertainment is crucial and this is the very first step to attain success. Once students find a balance, they will be able to apply it in any other aspects in their life such as with family, work, and any relationships.


Traditional Classrooms and You

Although more classes are designed for distance learning, in fact, there are certain classes and educational programs which traditional setting is preferred. Classes such as Math and Science are recommended not to take online. The reason is because these courses require memorization and understanding, math, for example. No matter how many times they read the text book, if they dont get it, they dont get it. Therefore, solving the problem can be far from
Figure 10

what students understood. Teachers are available to

help even after class and they feel pleased to explain whatever you dont understand (5 Classes). Another natural sciences having benefit from being in class are physics and chemistry. Observing is the best way to remember. When you take an online physics course, you dont have a chance to observe the experiment the

Figure 11

14 teacher performs. Also, not many students can afford the experimental materials. In contrast, traditional classes include the fees for these equipment and materials in the lab fees (5 Classes). Traditional setting also recommended for language classes. In 2011-2012 more English language learners prefer to take classes in school rather than online (Miron, Horvitz, and Gulosino). This doesnt just apply to just English; it also applies to other languages. Being proficient in a language means you are able to listen, speak, and read fluently. The only way to become proficient in a language is going to class. You never can improve your speaking skill unless somebody points it out. Teacher and classmates are those who are willing to help. There are some courses that are almost impossible to take online, some of which are medical classes. There are practical parts that student cannot understand without the assistance of an educator. For instance, nursing students can never learn how to start IV unless the teacher instructs him to do so. Practicing medical
Figure 12

procedures on a live person allows students to

have hand-on experiences which online class never does. Also, a big concern of many online students is that since they never physically performed a task, how can

15 they feel confident when stepping out into real work? Although a study has proved that students who take classes online are smarter, they are still unable to learn the smaller things that could be a matter in real world experience. That is why you should reconsider when enrolling classes related to your major (Miron, Horvitz, and Gulosino). A research shows that students drop out of online class at rates 15 percent to 20 percent higher than traditional ones (Parry). Many people think that online courses are much easier but its not true. In fact, they are a lot more rigorous. The main purpose of online courses is to give you the same amount knowledge in the less amount of time. Too much information makes students feel overload confused. Because of that, studying online may give student rough time and push them to give up. In online courses, students are allowed to take quiz online. Staying at home to do the test has both good and bad effects. While doing the test, they are more prone to look up the answers online just as easy as searching on Google. It will be helpful for them if they are trying to know something they missed. However, students may rely on the books or online sources and forget to spend time on studying. When there is a midterm or final test which is require to be done in testing center, students always need extra time to prepare.


Its Time to Decide

More and more people are willing to invest time and money for a higher education. In 2010, college and university in the US open the door for 20.3 million students, roughly 5.7% of the total population (Higher education). Getting a better job is one of the main reasons. Also, college environment help students get closer to the infinite knowledge. To achieve this crucial mission, students have to be wise enough to decide which setting is the best for them: distance learning or direct interaction. Research shows that there is no significant difference in learning effectiveness between online and face-to-face classes (Yani). However, you can learn much more than what online classes can ever offer. I cannot reject the truth that taking class at school cost money and time, but its worth it. Once you step out of college, you want everything you learned can be applied on real work. The question you should have in your mind is: do online classes really offer you much opportunity to learn? Are they worth that much tuition fees? Hopefully, after reconsidering, you will make the right choice.


Works Cited
"5 Classes You Should Take Online...and 5 You Shouldn't." Education Portal. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014. "About SLCC." Salt Lake Community College. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2014. Acacio, Virginette. "The Benefits of Face-to-Face Communication." Blue Jeans "Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011 | The Sloan Consortium." N.p. Web. 06 Apr. 2014. "Higher Education in the United States." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Mar. 2014. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. Miron, Gary. et al. Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2013: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence. School of Education, University of Colorado Boulder, May 2013. Web. 28 Mar, 2014. Parry, Marc. "Wired Campus." The Chronicle of Higher Education. N.p., 22 Sept. 2010. Web. 08 Apr. 2014. Ya Ni, Anna. "Journal of Public Affairs Education 199 Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online Learning: Teaching Research Methods." N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2014.


Photos Index
Figure 1: Classroom Learning Figure 2: Feedback Figure 3: Mistake Figure 4: Job Seekers: Seek the Right Fit. Figure 5: Personal Telepresence & Desktop Video Conferencing Systems. Figure 6: SLCC Wins Utah Election Campus Cup. Figure 7: Join Our Circle Alliance on Twitter, Facebook & Linked-In. Figure 8: Socialize (Source: Fotolia) Figure 9: Work-Life Balance Figure 10: Math problem Figure 11: Chemistry Equipment Figure 12: IV