Some universities offer online courses as an alternative to classes delivered on campus. Do you think this is a positive or negative development?
There are different views about the increasing popularity that online classes have gained in recent years. I personally believe that this method of course delivery has both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, the rise of online courses as a replacement for on-site classrooms comes with a number of benefits. Firstly, one of the most significant merits of an Internet-based class is that it is convenient. Instead of attending traditional classes which may pose challenges to students who do not live in proximity to the campus, they are now enabled to attend an online class taught by the same instructors while staying at home using an Internet-connected computer. In addition, online degree programs are more affordable for those from financially disadvantaged families as students enrolling in an online course can save money that would otherwise be spent on transportation costs, campus-based housing and other living expenses. On the other hand, there are several drawbacks associated with this trend. The lack of instant support from teachers and faculty members is one of the major problems faced by online college students. Due to the absence of face-to-face contact, the entire process of getting clarifications and query-resolutions online can take much more time compared to seated classes at the University. Another negative aspect of online education is that students are not likely to develop social competence as effectively as they can do with physical classroom settings. This is because video- based lectures often limit the opportunity for interactions and communication among students, which is equally important as the acquisition of knowledge. In conclusion, it seems to me that while online education is generally more accessible than classroom-based courses, it may prevent students from receiving timely assistance and cultivating interpersonal skills.