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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Easy A online classes ruin college education

    Online college courses can be the new promising, innovative way to reach more students, but too often are just students’ excuse to get an easy “A.” Unless changed, online courses soon will be the most popular choice of most students to try and help boost their grade point averages, and not for real education.

    More than half of college presidents say online courses provide the same value as courses taken in a classroom, according to a 2011 survey by the Pew Research Center. The survey asked the general public the same question, but only 29 percent of American adults said online classes offer the same value as a classroom course.

    And UA students agree that they’re extremely popular.

    “I hate going to class,” said Ashurina Alkais, a public health sophomore who is taking a psychology class online. “I can do all the work on my own time. I don’t have to physically go to class. Nor did I have to spend money on textbooks. Plus I was also able to work at my own pace.”

    While some students use the classes for their academic and personal advantage, others say online classes are preferable because they’re not as hard.

    “It’s super easy,” said Karsyn Breiman, a pre-business freshman. “The professor doesn’t even live here. All I have to do is take a quiz on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the questions come directly from the notes that he posts. It takes me five minutes, three days a week.”

    Breiman said she found out how easy and unserious the online general education class was and used it to her advantage. The course has no relationship with her major so she said she’s unconcerned with how much she learns from it. All that’s important is the three credits.

    This validates the 71 percent of Americans who said online education doesn’t measure up to traditional teaching, according to the survey.

    “I tried an online course once but dropped it,” said Nic Frazer, a junior studying finance and MIS. “It was hard and confusing getting a hold of the teacher and the class just wasn’t personal enough, which made it harder.”

    The lack of personal contact with the instructor can make understanding the material more difficult. Depending on the course and how it is taught online, students might be missing a great deal of important information since the visual aspect of learning is not as clear.

    Online courses are a good idea but they need adjusting in order to be truly effective. As of now, online classes seem to be hit-or-miss, depending on the teacher. Students have grown up around technology and are comfortable using it.

    But the UA administration should carefully monitor the grades of online classes to see if it’s an easy “A.” It is important that students are challenged and are taking away valuable information. Colleges and universities have welcomed online classes with open arms, but officials should be wary of the way students view them and aware of the effort needed to pass them.

    — Luke Davis is a pre-journalism sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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