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Five Reasons Online College Classes Are a Bad Idea

5 Reasons Online College Classes Are Not a Good Idea

In an effort to make up my mind on how I feel about online college classes, yesterday I wrote up five reasons I think they're a good idea. Now, here are five reasons I'm not sure they're so great.

To be clear, I'm talking about online classes for traditional college students – that is, students attending a four-year undergraduate school — not nontraditional students working on an online degree (the list of "pros" in that list is much greater!). Check them out after the jump.

  1. Your dorm room may not be the best place to learn. I don't know about your college dorm, but mine was itty-bitty and stuffed to the brim with posters, candy, dirty clothes, and plenty of other distractions. I didn't love sitting in a lecture hall for a 45-minute spell, but it got me out of my dorm and forced me to concentrate and pay attention.
  2. In fact, you may just never leave your room. Some days, particularly the rainy, snowy, cold days, I didn't want to leave my room. With online classes, you may never have to . . . which I don't necessarily see as a good thing. Moving around on campus = forced interaction = a better social situation. Plus: exercise!
  3. You might miss out on meeting awesome new people. My best friends in college (and after) weren't people I met while kicking it in my dorm, they're like-minded friends who shared my major and sat through most of my classes. While online classes allow you to interact with others through your computer, you'll miss that oh-so-important face time with your peers.
  4. Speaking of face time, you won't get as much of it with your professor, either. All colleges are different, but many feature at least some smaller classes where your absence or lack of participation is noticed quickly by the professor. In my case, it encouraged me to work harder and show up completely prepared for class; in many cases, face time with a professor encourages class participation, too!
  5. Sometimes, you really just want to have class on the lawn. Online classes can't be taken outside on a whim!

So, where do you stand? Pro-online classes or against? I'm still on the fence but holding on strong to the "traditional" college lecture hall and classroom experiences. Am I just behind the times or do you think there's value in those experiences, too?

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sarahvampgrl sarahvampgrl 5 years
For my two cents, your list is a good one for someone who is 18 and just starting college. After that it's a whole new ball of wax. I did my undergrad at a major university and that is an experience I would never change or give up. Dorm rooms, classes, the whole spiel. But now I've done all that and don't really need those experiences again. I am now in an online program for my Masters degree through another major university. My program is only offered at two colleges in the state and I couldn't move from my house to the other side of the state to attend either. And I've found the online program to be great! I can still work and manage my home while taking classes. I often watch lectures in the middle of the night while relaxing from the day. Also I have found the classes to be just as intensively immersive with readings, lectures, and even group assignments using lots of technology to chat and meet my classmates.
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