Learning Online. These two words often carry a negative connotation, and it is not uncanny to see people shy away from what may be a very useful way of education, not to mention a way that is up and coming this century. Enrolled in two online classes, Economics and Statistics, I would truly like to provide a true perspective on both the profits as well as the perils of online education. Firstly, it is important to understand what exactly “Learning Online,” consists of.
Both of my online classes are built into my school schedule, in that every day during my 6th school library and do my online coursework. It is at this point where online learning begins to carry either a negative or positive connotation. Because all coursework is independent, in that there is no one ensuring I am completing my work during the respective periods I have been given during school, I am free to complete the work whenever I please. The VHS Collaborative assigns the week’s work on Wednesday, and mandates that I submit this same work by the following Tuesday midnight. This allows me the freedom to choose when to complete the work, yielding me the benefit of employing school time for other things that may be more prominent for the day. For example, if I need to meet with a teacher for another class to discuss an assignment, I am free to set up a meeting during my 6th periods.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that VHS should not be thought of as “easy classes,” in that there is still a lot of difficult work that must be completed. This means that if one decides to occupy school periods with other work, he or she must take time outside of school to complete the VHS Work. Therefore the freedom VHS provides is beneficial, as long as a student is able to complete the work. The second aspect of VHS, one that is completely undersold I feel, is the actual education. Many wonder if the education is the same as education in a traditional classroom. Being in two classes, I can assert that the education that one receives from VHS, or other online learning for that matter, is entirely dependent on a respective student’s ability to work independently and efficiently, as well as that same student’s drive to learn. It is very easy to simply brush off VHS work because there is no one checking up on you. If this happens, you would find yourself trying to cram in a week’s worth of information Tuesday at 10:00, which is conducive to artificial and futile learning.
On the other hand, if you take the time to learn, and spread out the course work over the week, the capacity for learning is vast. Online learning provides the ability for a student to learn independently, which automatically creates an individualized learning environment, where a student can feel free to progress at his/her own pace (relatively of course). If a student is unsure about a topic, VHS textbooks offer solid information, as do other online sources such as Wikipedia; I often find myself going to Yahoo answers to have concepts explained to me. At the end of the day, VHS/online learning and traditional learning in physical classrooms can be equated in regards to amount of learning, at least for me. In summary, students who are self driven, have an insatiable hunger for learning, and are akin to trying out unique ideas, would fit flawlessly into online learning environments.
If you have any questions about online education, feel free to contact me at @iNik2 (Twitter). To learn more about VHS Collaborative, you can visit their website. I wish you the best in your future online learning endeavors.