What do you like about online learning in your program?
My favorite things about online learning are the ability to have extended discussions with other students and the opportunities that the online environment provides to include interesting supplemental material. Online discussion groups give students more time to think through their ideas and process the ideas of others than traditional classroom discussions. Students can read other students comments and write responses at their own pace. The online learning environment also gives professors an opportunity to incorporate a variety of online media (articles and videos) in every course. This gives students the option to learn more about topics they find interesting and see real world applications for ideas they are studying.
What are some advantages/disadvantages of learning online?
One clear advantage to learning online is flexibility. The online environment allows students to have more freedom in deciding when they are going to participate in class discussions and complete assignments. This is beneficial for students with busy or unpredictable schedules. Another advantage is the ability to easily share information with professors and classmates. The online environment provides an avenue for sharing ideas and information that is difficult to recreate in a normal classroom.
A disadvantage is that planning and time management can be strenuous because there are no weekly class meetings. This added responsibility is a result of the increased flexibility in online courses. The online learning experience requires students to be very organized and self-motivated.
What has surprised you about learning online?
I was surprised most by the level and quality of interaction between the students in my online course. Before participating in any online learning, I thought that an online course would be a very individual experience. I expected the course to be self-paced and lack the interaction that is typical in a standard classroom. I was very surprised because my first online course involved multiple small group discussions that were in-depth and added a lot of value to the class. The course also incorporated current events, industry news, and encouraged discussion and interaction. My first online course was a very positive surprise.
How do you think your online program will benefit you in the future?
I will definitely benefit from my online learning in the future because it provided excellent practice in work planning and managing time. The online learning experience requires students to be personally responsible for managing their workload because they do not have the scheduled classroom time every week. This type of experience in time management and responsibility is great for any student. I also think that I will be able to incorporate what I learned about online communication in my future undertakings. A lot of our everyday interactions now occur online, so experience communicating and sharing information in this type of environment will be helpful when I face these situations in my career.