The process for writing this essay was to research as much as I could to find as many sources possible to back up my claim that traditional classrooms are more beneficial to students and professors versus online classes. I chose this topic because I believe that technology is taking over so much of our daily lives and it doesn’t always positively impact it, such as the online classes. For example, I am a very introverted person and I know there are many people out there that are, too, and I believe shy people believe that taking online courses will benefit them more because they don’t have to directly interact with people in a face-to-face environment. I believe this is not the way to look at it because if I were to take an online class over a traditional class then it would just make me even more introverted and shy; in a traditional classroom it gives me the social experience I need to develop and create social skills, so I really enjoyed writing this paper and arguing for traditional classrooms. When I revised my paper I would write a little everyday, then go back and read it the next day and change what I thought was unnecessary to include. My biggest strength in the essay I would say would be the amount of sources that I included, I feel like it builds my ethos more for the audience. My biggest weakness is making my sources talk to each other; I feel like if I did that then y paper would be more effective. I am most proud of my overall input in to the essay, I believe I improved since the last essay with the wording I used and also with the use of more sources then my last essay. I am least proud that I did not make it to 7 pages, I believe I could have made it more persuasive if I added a bit more to it. If I had more time to revise my paper I would fix it to sound even more persuasive then it already is and possibly add more examples in it that show how traditional classrooms are a better way to receive an education compared to an online class.
Traditional Classroom Education vs. Online Classroom Education
Online education has been around since the 60’s, but started to become more well known in the 80’s; it is becoming even more popular in todays society, especially amongst college-aged students (Smarty 2010). More colleges and universities are offering online classes, for example, “In 2000-01 fifty-six percent of two and four year institutions and ninety percent of two year public colleges offered distance education” (Lyons 2004). Before technology started to advance, the only option available for achieving an education was through a traditional classroom. People all around the world now have the computers right at their finger tips, so taking an online class is more accessible then it has been in the past; therefore, people are more enticed to take them because they do not have to physically go to a classroom to learn. When taking an online course, students do not have the ability to physically see or interact with their peers and professor, which can create issues. While online classes are more convenient to those who do not enjoy traveling to a classroom to get an education, they do not give the same benefits that traditional classrooms do, such as face-to-face interaction.
Although there are more interactive benefits that come along with a traditional classroom education, online classroom education does have some benefits for some students and professors. One study showed that when students were asked the same questions in an online course and a traditional classroom, the outcome of their grades “indicated similarity in the outcome of student performance in the two courses” (Pollard-Parsons,Lacks, and Grant, 2008). This shows that students still receive the same education in both the online class and traditional class. For some students it may be more convenient to enroll in an online course rather than in a traditional classroom depending on if they have a job, transportation reasons, access, and many other reasons; the quote above is reassuring to them to show that they can still receive a similar grade as a student would in a traditional classroom. Some professors may not enjoy being in the presence of a large classroom, so in this case, teaching an online course would be better for them. While there are some benefits that may come along with taking an online course, the benefits that come along with traditional classroom education outweighs the benefits of online education.
When it comes to computers, there is always the chance of technological issues, such as it shutting down randomly, getting a virus, freezing, ad many more. This can become an issue when considering taking online classes, for in some cases a “university’s computer system was overloaded and many students were locked out of their assignments” (Grant,Lacks,Parsons-Pollard 2008). For the students sake this can become annoying and sometimes stressful when taking exams or quizzes that are timed. Also, this affects professors because when students have something go wrong for their class, their first instinct is to contact their professor. Because of this, the professor would have to deal with all of the student’s technological issues, which may cause stress for them and unnecessary work. All of this can be avoided when taking classes in a traditional classroom. The students and professors do not have stress about the technological issues that could happen during their course; this cuts out a lot of wasted time. There is no time to waste to fix a technological issue when teaching an online class, especially in college when most classes are fast paced, and getting an education in a traditional classroom does not have this issue. Ethicist Slavoj Zizek talks about how short interventions, such as charity, are not fixing the bigger problem, they are merely covering it up like a Band-Aid (Zizek 2009). He would agree that taking classes in a traditional classroom are more beneficial in this instance because fixing the technological issues in an online class is not fixing the problem. There will be technological issues always occurring on computers, no matter how high tech it is, therefore just simply fixing
a virus on a computer would be like covering up the issue like a Band-Aid because underneath the Band-Aid there is still the technological issues that come along with an online class.
Not only do technological issues come along with taking online classes, but there is also the decrease in face-to-face interaction. In an online class students do not have the ability to receive a direct answer from their professor if they are having a problem, they have to wait for an email, which can sometimes take a while. In one statistic, students were asked, “There were sufficient opportunities to interact online with my instructor,” and the response back to the statement was that 84.5% of the students disagreed; they “wanted more interaction with their instructor” (Boyd 2008). A major part in taking a class and getting an education is being able to interact with your professor because it gives students the opportunity to get clarification on what they are learning in class, and this data shows how dissatisfied students were with their interaction with their professors in an online class. Another factor is not only the way students interact towards their professor, but also the way that professors interact with their students. Students were asked, “I was clear about how my instructor expected me to use the online course material,” and 89.7% of the students strongly disagreed because they “did not understand the teacher’s presentation of this information” (Boyd 2008). The job of a professor is obviously to teach his or her students, and that is not easily done when their students do not understand what they are teaching. Professors do not like to see their students fail, they want to be there for their students and help them, and the data shows that it is not easy for them to be there or make sense to their students when they teach an online class. They have the opportunity to have a better interaction with their students in a traditional classroom because they can clarify what they mean more easily through face-to-face interaction, which in the end benefits them more, for they are actually achieving their job more efficiently.
Another important thing when getting an education and learning is being able to physically see hand gestures and emotion and hear sounds. Scientists have found that “gestures are not merely coincidental to speech but in deep ways reflect and facilitate cognition” (Roth,Welzel 2000). When taking online courses students do not have the opportunity to always be able to see their professor because not all online courses are taught from a web cam. This gives students a disadvantage when taking online courses because they do not get to visually take in the gestures and emotions that their professors are doing while teaching. This also gives a disadvantage to the professors because they do not get to express their hand gestures and emotions through their facial expressions for a student to see. If a teacher is sitting behind a computer teaching an online course, then they most likely are not even making any gestures or faces, which may be difficult for some professors who teach more easily by making hand motions or facial expressions. Either way, both the students and the professor do not get any benefits for teaching or learning from an online course when it comes to hand gestures and facial movements. The students who take classes in a traditional classroom are able to visualize more of what their professor is trying to convey to them in their lesson, which, as shown from the quote above, helps students learn better.
Honesty and being trustworthy is a key aspect that is extremely important when it comes to receiving an education. Professors do not want to have students in their class that are only passing their class by cheating their way through; it creates distrust between the professor and student. This is very important when it comes to taking exams, quizzes, completing major assignments, etc. In a traditional classroom, when students are taking test, professors have the ability to walk around or have other teachers come in and volunteer to walk around to keep an eye on students when they are taking tests. This enables teachers to ensure that their students are not cheating by looking at other student’s exams or by using their cell phones. The idea of teachers watching their students while taking a test also correlates to the idea of Panopticism. This idea of Panopticism is that when someone is being watched he or she is less likely to do something that they would do if they weren’t being watched, therefore, because if this idea students would be less likely to cheat in a traditional classroom because they are being watched by their teacher (Foucault 1991). In an online class “there are many more options to cheat,” such as waiting for answers from other students who have already taken an assessment, “claim[ing] their computer system showed an error message” allowing them to take the assessment again, students can “collude” or work together using their phones, students can “purchase answers” from websites, and there are many more ways (Morten, Fitterer, Brazier, Leonard, and Brown, 2013). All of these different methods of cheating online are overwhelming, and professors who teach the online classes most likely feel the same way when knowing their students possibly do these. All of these different methods of cheating are not as easily done, or done at all, when students take classes in a traditional classroom.
Another important benefit to consider about receiving an education in a traditional classroom or an online classroom is getting a job after you receive an education. The major reason why students want to receive an education is to eventually receive a college degree to get a decent job when they graduate from college. When companies were asked whether or not “an online course would be viewed as a credible credential in a prospective employee,” not all companies said yes (Webley 2012). In one survey, Human Resource Managers were surveyed about their opionon on a degree earned online and a degree earned in a traditional classroom, and “66% said candidates who obtained degrees online were not viewed as favorably as job applicants with traditional degrees” (Webley 2012). Employers like to see traditional degrees because they know that these future employees have the ability to interact with customers in a face-to-face environment and have had practice with speaking skills, whereas the future employees with an online degree do not have the face-to-face experience. This can create issues in the workforce, such as having poor social skills with customers and awkward interactions with customers. This is something that students should keep in mind when deciding what type of class to take because in the end, a traditional classroom environment would prepare students better for the workforce.
Over the years online classroom education has become more popular, especially because of its easy access to everyone around the world who has computer technology all around them. People also like the idea that they don’t have to leave the comfort of their home to go in to a traditional class to get an education, or because the classroom education works better to fit around their job and work schedule. These all sound very enticing and one more reason to take an online course, but in the end, the most benefits come from getting an education in a traditional classroom. There are so many issues to worry about when it comes to online courses that are easily solved or not an issue at all if students took classes in a traditional classroom, such as cheating, technological issues, decrease in face-to-face interaction, not being able to see gestures, and the ability to get a job in the future. Not only do these factors belong to students, but they also go along with professors. A professor is one of the most important parts in receiving an education because without one there is no education to receive. Professors receive more benefits in teaching traditional classrooms, just as students do. Before students sign up for online courses or professors sign up to teach online courses, they need to do more research because they will find all the benefits that come along with a traditional classroom education over an online classroom education.
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