Students do not benefit from online classes, in fact, such classes are harmful. With too many opportunities to cheat, a significant likelihood of falling behind and an impersonal learning experience, online classes are not good for students.
Cheating is made extremely easy with online classes. The instructor has no way of knowing who wrote the work or took the tests that are being turned in, and students are well aware. In a recent VOICE survey done on the Mercer campus, 49 out of 50 Mercer students said that they would most likely cheat in an online class. In a separate VOICE survey of only students who are taking online classes, 20 out of 20 admitted to cheating at least once during their online class.
When Rocco Giovacchini, Liberal Arts freshman at Mercer, was asked his opinion on online classes, he answered, “It gives students an easy A because they can Google everything – that’s what I would do. [Online classes] may not be very effective but it’s not like students hold on to this information anyway.”
Most online classes give students the flexibility to set their own schedule and move at their own pace, but if a student is taking an online class in the first place it’s most likely because they don’t have the time to attend the actual class. If they don’t have time to attend a class, how will they have time to do it at home? This causes students to fall behind and eventually end up cramming everything at the very last minute and not actually learning anything.
In the VOICE survey done of on-campus Mercer students, 37 out of 50 said they struggle with time management when it comes to their school assignments. If students have trouble pacing themselves when they are taking face to face classes, how are they likely to fare in the online environment? The online class may actually cause students to give up sooner and drop out faster.
First year Theater Arts major at Mercer Stephanie Ortiz states, “I think online classes are definitely easier considering you have more time to get things done.”
In “Can You See Me Now?” an article by Ida B. Jones, a professor at the California State University at Fresno, originally published in the Journali of Legal Studies Education, she writes, “In courses taught wholly online, the instructor is not physically present. The lecture teaching method assumes that learning occurs best when students are physically present with other students and the instructor. It also assumes that significant learning occurs when the instructor orally instructs and guides students through the learning process.”
Jones notes the fact that most students can comprehend information better when they hear it – a feature that most online classes do not provide.
Online classes take away from the interactive discussion that actual classes provide. Although most professors require online discussion, it isn’t the same back-and-forth debate that so effectively takes place in a classroom environment.
Students do not gain from online classes. Between the obvious shortcuts and cheating methods, most students’ lack of discipline and time management skills coupled with the impersonal learning environment is a recipe for disaster.