Thursday, August 18, 2011

Online vs. On Campus Classes: Through the Eyes of a Student

Hi everyone, my name is Brian. I’m currently attending NOVA to earn my A.S. degree with plans of transferring to a university. SDV 100 is my first online class I’ve taken! The adjustment as a student from the classroom to online was a bit difficult because there is so much flexibility in learning the course material. Not having the structured schedule of sitting in a classroom put my time management skills to the test. Traditionally, for me, a school day consists of getting up in the morning, going to a class, and listening to a lecture for an hour or two, during which I would take notes and then go home.

When I started SVD 100 online at the beginning of this semester, I almost didn’t know what to do. No face to face interactions? No specific time when class starts? Home work is due by the end of the week? These are just some of the questions I asked myself during my first week. As time went on, any anxieties I had about taking the course online had dissipated. I found myself a nice routine to follow each week that worked for me, and still allowed ample time for my studies and do homework.

There were two key things that aided me through my first online experience, setting up my calendar and setting reminders for myself. Since we receive Gmail accounts when we register at NOVA, I chose to keep things simple and use Gmail’s calendar feature to keep organized. This process is as easy as logging in to GMail, going to the calendar tab on the upper left hand corner, then pointing and clicking on a time slot on the calendar to schedule appointments. If you have a busy schedule, It might take you some time but, ultimately, I believe this to be a great way to visually organize your time.

Setting reminders was just as easy as setting up my calendar since I have an Android phone. When I put anything new into my calendar it automatically syncs to my phone and vice versa.

Online classes are a paradigm shift from the traditional “brick and mortar” school house but, with good time management skills, distance learning can provide a tremendous benefit to the student, the professor, and, have significant positive impact on the environment. The downside is a lack of social interaction and the lack of synergy when debating ideas with classmates. The proliferationof social media tools makes online classes the perfect venue for today’s students.

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