Before this semester, I had no intention of taking an online class. I enjoyed the typical academic environment of sitting in a classroom at a certain time each week surrounded by other students with a professor lecturing in front of me. It’s what I was used to and I didn’t want to enroll in a course that diverted from this typical academic model.
However, last spring I was assigned a pretty terrible class registration time, so I knew I’d have difficulty getting into all of the classes I selected. Unfortunately, my expectations were accurate. Due to their popularity and small size, I couldn’t get into two classes I needed to take. I knew the Friday Center’s online classes would probably be my best alternative, but I was hesitant to break away from the traditional classroom setting.
Now, I realize it was somewhat silly of me to try to avoid online classes. I just finished my first online class, GLBL 210 (Global Issues), and it was a great experience. My online class was both rewarding and convenient. I received three credits I needed, was relieved by the convenience of the course, and felt as though I learned just as much as I would have in a classroom.
My online class was designed really well and provided a lot of opportunity for learning, collaboration, feedback, and flexibility. Substantial weekly readings and forum posts ensured I kept up with the material and learned just as much as if the course had been in a traditional format. The requirement to respond to other students’ forum posts created a collaborative classroom feel I’m used to experiencing when actually sitting in a classroom with other students. My professor did a great job at providing weekly feedback to forum posts and essays, making sure we all stayed on track, as well as responding promptly to any questions and emails. The flexibility was my favorite aspect of the course. I loved having the option of knocking out my weekly assignments well ahead of time to free up my schedule, or delaying them until later if I was overwhelmed with other assignments.
Looking forward, I definitely plan on taking more online classes through the Friday Center. If you don’t get into a class you need, or if you’re just interested in furthering your education in some way, don’t count out online courses. They are convenient, enjoyable, and a great way to learn.