Paradigm shift to online - The online voice of cambridge campus students
The online voice of cambridge campus students
by Chris Johnson

staff writer

Some Anoka-Ramsey Community College students and faculty are concerend about the future of education as more online classes are available to students.

"Online classes deprive students of that face-to-face value they receive in a traditional classroom setting," Anoka-Ramsey Community College faculty member Claudio Moreno stated.

Moreno said, "The student-to-student and teacher-to-student interactions, including body language and other varying forms of communication, are not available to online students." Moreno explained that these external, as well as internal interactions, are important in education for the teacher, and for the students especially in regards to retaining information, as opposed to online courses.

Is online education taking over? Why? Some is feared that online courses will soon take over. The reason for this according to Moreno, is "simply because it is cheaper for the administration. The administration sees it being less expensive as the need for building and mortar becomes obsolete. Maintenance for a school requires the cost of janitors and electricity, insurance, lawn care, construction and many more expenses that could be absolved if online education is heading in the direction it is."

Mary Januschka, an ARCC faculty member, reiterated by saying, "My concern as a teacher is the lack of face-to-face interactions with classmates and the instructor. The lack of practice with the skill of face-to-face communication with others is so important in any profession."

However, online courses are more expensive per credit than a non-online class. "It's about $5 to be exact," according to Barb Prince. This $5 increase per credit is set by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) system for online classes.

According to an Online Education Survey taken by 30 students and conducted by the Ink Spot at ARCC on Sept. 15th, 2010, many students say that they are currently taking an online course or have in the past. When asked if they were satisfied with their online education experience, many responded no. According to their answers, the students believed that the class was too difficult and or their needs as a student were not met. These needs, according to the students surveyed, included: being able to get to know the professor, interaction with other students and the instructor, and the ability to ask questions and receive immediate responses to name a few.

According to this survey, the majority of students surveyed said they would not like to take difficult classes online. After reviewing the data, Januschka responded, "There is nothing like face-to-face help from classmates and the instructor. Being able to talk through a problem, answer questions, and probe new ideas is done best face-to-face."

Andrew Mac, a student at ARCC who participated in the survey, complained of the degree of difficulty of navigating the online class’s website. He said, "It disrupted my learning."

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, another student surveyed, claimed, "It was a complicated system and there were multiple issues with the online learning site. Therefore I feel I spent more time learning the site than the material."

There were students surveyed who say they were satisfied with their online education experience. Megan Johnson stated, "It was very convenient and fits into my work schedule and still gives me the credits I need to graduate."

When asked if they would take that particular class online if they had the option, the majority responded no. Joey Irons, another student surveyed, said, "I wouldn’t take a difficult class online because the experience would be very hands-off. The material will be very unmemorable, and there is no listening, just all reading. Also, it would be difficult to receive help with the material if I ever needed it."

According to many ARCC students who were surveyed, the fact that online classes are available is a good thing. Scott Klasen, a math tutor and student surveyed at ARCC, said, "I think many students appreciate the online education services that are available. Some students require the online education program for various reasons."

But many of the same students also agree that they are not ready for online classes to completely take over anytime soon.

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