Benjamin Sterling


What do you like about online learning in your program?

Online learning seems to provide a choose-your-own adventure game of sorts when it comes to your coursework. I can do coursework before I go to work, during my lunchbreak, while I’m watching television, or late in the evenings. And I can take breaks. And in my experience with online learning, the professors seem to be a lot more in touch with the real world of the materials we’re learning. What I learned in my online marketing class was so much more relevant to what actually goes on in the field. We watched youtube, we looked at twitter. This relates to me, because a lot of that advertising targets me. Its nice to see a professor and a course on my level, viewing the world the same way I do.

What are some advantages/disadvantages of learning online?

The advantages are simple, they offer the flexibility of classes around your schedule, with the same course materials. I find that I’m more apt to watch four hours of material at home on my computer and still enjoy it, rather than in a classroom, where there are limited means to get the same point across. And if a class went on to four hours on campus, I’d likely be fighting sleep, or fidgety by the end. The disadvantages are just the lag time for asking questions. Instead of immediately, you sometimes have to wait an hour or two. But that’s typically all it is, an hour or two. The distance learning professors are very in-touch with their students, from all over the world, and ensure that they answer questions in a timely manner.

What has surprised you about learning online?

I was honestly surprised at how willing I was to do all of the coursework. My distance learning class had more assignments than any other class I had last semester, but they were all interesting and well paced. They all related to the coursework, and a long lecture didn’t slow me down, if I was antsy to actually work on a project during the online lecture, I could just pause it and write a few pages, and restart right where I left off. That easy. You can’t tell a professor to stop talking in class so you can copy a page of notes.

I feel that the distance learning programs are actually structured more like real work. You have assignments, you have deadlines, and you have a ton of time to do them. Nothing is crammed into 3 hours on a Wednesday night. I have options on every assignment, and the option to pause the class for sleep, or for the real job. For someone who works full time, I can now focus on advancing my career and my education at the same time. Its a good happy medium.

Overall, I wish more classes were offered with online options through VCU. Just as options. For people who work, or are in a hectic place in their career. I’ve had nothing but the best experiences with online classes.