by Will Conerly
“100% percent flexibility” is a common advertising theme among today’s colleges and universities that offer online education as part of their overall curriculum.
It’s no different at Quincy University where students have the opportunity to earn college course credits outside the traditional classroom.
Starting this week, QU students can begin to register for Fall 2019 online courses. The registration period is limited to two weeks this year.
According to CollegeClasses.com the first online degrees started becoming available around 1995.
Quincy University offers online learning through its website.
Today, graduate students at QU who earn their Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Human Services, and Master of Business Administration complete the majority of their required courses online.
Quincy University Vice President for Student Development Christine Tracy invited all students to complete a survey last October via Google Forum and some questions focused on the features and benefits of online learning. Some of the questions included the following:
“Would increasing online classes create a more flexible schedule?”
“Is there ever a conflict with lack of flexibility for class times and personal life?”
The answers to these questions, suggested that online learning had come of age and is now the preferred method of teaching and learning.
Generations ago, online classes were non-existant but now they seem to overwhelmingly offer student flexibility and opportunities.
“It gives students flexibility, since a large majority of mine are athletes,” Professor of Sport Management Elysia Mahoney said.
But this change in education styles from classroom to online – begs the question: is working on your own schedule more important now than it was in past decades?
With a constant desire to be connected to phones, some would say yes.
It is an appeal to operate under your own time, and have the leisure and authority to ‘pick when you want to go to class,’ which is something that kids who sat through 8:00-3:00 school days in high school never got to experience.
Not only do students get an opportunity to work at their own pace, they have to learn how to do so.
“It gives students an opportunity to learn how to work at their own pace,” Mahoney said.
This appeal is the favorite part about online classes for student-athlete Baylee Smith who said her favorite part of online learning is not having to sit in class and getting to work at her own pace.
However, someone must play devil’s advocate, is all the freedom ‘good’?
For those with already busy schedules, it could be.
“Having the freedom to work on the class whenever I want,” Jayme Bertish, freshman student-athlele, said. “I have a whole week to get assignments done and I can work around my busy schedule.”
However, it has been proven that face-to-face communication is more meaningful and effective than online communication and Bertish admits those struggles.
“I think sometimes it’s hard to communicate with the teacher. Sometimes instructions can be confusing and it makes it difficult to complete assignments,” Bertish said.
Cruz Meier a freshman commuter student from Camp Point, Illinois has never taken an online class, and sees things a little differently.
“I like that I can ask questions and get instant feedback opposed to emailing and such for online classes,” Meier said.
There are 48 online classes students can choose from in the 2019-2020 fall term, and with the increase in proficiency of technology over the last decade, the trend seems to be continuing.
Teachers, who may have been trained to teach in lecture style have to accommodate students schedule needs and face a new challenge to maximize student learning through online portals.
“There is a lot more room for error and confusion,” Smith said.
Taking online classes may be more convenient, but are they more beneficial?