Many adults are choosing to go back to college. Nowadays, it is easy to accomplish this because of the choices of class and learning schedules. Many classes can be taken online or on-campus, therefore providing a flexible schedule for adult students. In the article below, the positives and negatives of both of these options will be discussed.
Online classes are a flexible way to take classes while having a busy schedule. Online classes are usually set up in a way to allow you to study and turn in homework on your own time. Many teachers will post a syllabus either at the beginning of the class or at the beginning of each week. This syllabus will lay out which chapters to read, any online readings or videos to watch, homework assignments and their due dates, and tests and their due dates. Often times, online will have a flexible set schedule, such as reading one chapter, completing and turning in an assignment on, say, Friday, and completing a quiz by Sunday. Depending on the college and the class, assignments can either be done in an online program, sent by message to the professor in a word processing document, or posted in the online forum. Most classes provide an online forum for students to communicate with each other and with the teacher. Many tests will be done either in a test-taking program through the class’ host site, or sent to the teacher in a word-processing document. This loosely set schedule provides much flexibility for students with busy schedules to do their work whenever it is convenient for them. Also, often times, online classes can be less costly, and many do not require you to buy a book. Many will either provide free reading material online, or require you to buy less-expensive online textbooks given in a .pdf file.
However, there are some disadvantages of taking an online class. Because the class is taken from the comforts of home, there is not as much guidance or teaching from the professor. Yes, they can answer questions through email or phone calls, but it can be more difficult than face-to-face questions. Also, taking an online class means there is more of a likelihood of technical difficulties. To take an online class, a person has to have some computer knowledge. However, there are often times when internet connections are lost, web pages will not load, or other technical difficulties may occur. Another thing to consider is that it is easy to lose track of due dates, if not careful, since there are no daily reminders in a classroom setting.
On-campus classes are another option for adult students. Classes are often offered at many different times to provide the best options to work around schedules. Many classes are even offered at night, meaning that many people can work during the day and take classes at night. One benefit of taking classes on-campus is that professors are there on a daily basis to help teach new concepts and answer questions. They can provide one-on-one help to students, making information easier to learn. On-campus classes also provide opportunities to meet new students and form relationships with the professor. Making friends with fellow students provides opportunities to form study groups and make lasting friends. Forming relationships with a professor makes it easier to ask questions, and, if you like their teaching style, you can try to take their classes in the future. Often times, daytime classes can be overcrowded, but night classes can provide a more personal experience, since the number of students is usually greatly reduced.
However, the main problem of on-campus classes is that they can interfere with schedules. Many classes are an hour – or longer – every day or every other day. If a person is taking more than one class, they usually aren’t right after each other, which means they are unavailable for many hours during the day. Also, on-campus classes mean having to drive out to the campus and back multiple times a week. This can cause stressful situations, due to traffic conditions and the stress of finding a parking spot and making it to class on time, and it also means spending more money on gas.
There are a few options available for adult students, and each one has their merits and demerits. Each person must think about their lifestyle and weigh the advantages and disadvantages between on-campus and online classes. Both options provide an excellent chance for adults to return to college and earn their degree.