Opinions: Online classes are not the best way for all to learn effectively


A student checks his Canvas dashboard for new assignments in his classes.
Photo Illustration by Kelby Lorenz

Online classes at Lindenwood are increasing in popularity, and even though I understand why, I don’t think that online classes are the best choice for many students.

I get the appeal of not having to be in class physically. And online sections allow students with busy schedules to have a more flexible option for completing their coursework. It also is beneficial to commuter students, such as myself, who may choose an online class so they can work from home instead of driving to campus.

I took two of my gen-ed courses online at Lindenwood, and although I did well, I don’t think I would necessarily suggest it to another student.

This format requires students to do much of the teaching themselves. The professors of these sections provide material, such as notes, videos and additional resources, but students have to take these things and go through them on their own. I was fortunate enough to have professors who were very responsive and helpful when I emailed with questions, but it is not nearly as convenient as discussing it in person with them.

My concern is that I do not think I retained anywhere close to the same amount of information as I do when I am in class. Perhaps it is just my learning style, but I would be surprised if I am alone. I don’t tend to skip class, and I get grades I am happy with, but I find that I often have a difficult time finding motivation to go to class or do homework, a struggle I’ve had since I started school.

When I was taking an online course, in addition to motivating myself to do homework, I had to find motivation to sit down by myself to learn about a topic I was not entirely interested in.

I understand how a traditional student would want to take an online class, especially athletes who have a difficult time scheduling class around practices. I do, however, think there are more benefits to in-class format courses. Save the online classes for commuter students and those who work full-time and need flexible class schedules.