Universities are offering students the option of taking their classes in person or online. And while not all classes have this availability, the amount of online- and in-person offered classes continue to increase.
But which option is better? This has been a debate for students since universities began taking part in this technological evolution of learning.
Some students, like Ariella Nardizzi, a sophomore majoring in journalism and global studies at Arizona State University, prefer in-person classes. Others, like Tiffany Ellington, a freshman studying in digital audiences at ASU, prefer to take classes online.
In-person is more active and involved
“I prefer in-person classes mainly because of the more hands-on learning approach that I think in-person classes have,” Nardizzi says. “It’s much easier to be distant and detached from the course, your classmates and the professor in an online class.”
In-person courses hold the student accountable for remaining active and alert during class time.
Online allows learning at any pace
“Online classes offer more efficient learning because you don’t have the lag of a group class,” Ellington says. “It depends on how they learn. If they can motivate themselves then online is a great option.”
Students learn and work at a different pace. Ellington says online classes offer the opportunity for faster learners to work at their pace and slower learners to take the time to make sure they understand the material.
In-person connects students to the professor
“It’s much easier to form a relationship with the professor,” Nardizzi says. “Online, I usually don’t get to know my professor or only correspond with them via email so it doesn’t feel like a real relationship, especially as a lot of teachers can be great resources or future references.”
Although some online courses offer in-person office hours with professors, other online professors don’t live in the area, which can make it difficult to build a working relationship.
Online offers schedule flexibility
Ellington says she enjoys the ability to choose her schedule for her class time. It allows her to work at her own pace and mold the class to fit her needs, not the other way around.
Nardizzi also agrees, “I think online classes do have their perks, especially with how lenient they can be with scheduling.”
Online allows students to work
“If they want to focus more on a job then online is a great option,” Ellington says. “In my case, the online degree I am going to take will fit my needs better.”
A big factor for students when attending college…is paying for college. Being able to adjust their schedules to work around their job is important to students, including both Ellington and Nardizzi.
“Personally, I’m taking a lot of online classes right now because it allows me to work more hours on campus,” Nardizzi says.
At the end of the day, the debate is still active. Online and in-person degrees hold the same weight, and finding the right fit is a matter of testing every option.
“My advice to a student who’s debating between the two would be to figure out what works best with your schedule as online classes can be very convenient,” Nardizzi says. “However, if you know you’re a person who’s not self-motivated, you may have more success with an in-person class. Online classes have actually taught me a lot of time management skills so I think finding a balance between both in-person and online classes can sometimes be the best situation, it doesn’t always need to be just one or the other.”CT