By Marimar Lazaro
There’s no doubt that our generation is technology driven. Therefore, it would seem appropriate to teach us by the medium we are most familiar with, the Internet.
That is a growing trend on college campuses, as instructors incorporate the Internet into their class curriculums.
Some classes feature a blend of traditional lecture and online assignments, in which most tests, homework and quizzes are completed online. Others incorporate the Internet only to complement the class, through resources, practice or extra credit work.
Personally, with an overstuffed schedule, I have found that traditional classes are much better for me than Internet-oriented classes.
Although the more Internet-based classes are beneficial because of their availability, they fall short in some of the more essential aspects of education such as diagnostics, teacher expectations and simply understanding students.
Since most of the work is done outside the classroom in these types of classes, the only diagnostics the instructor has of his students’ progress are test results and homework grades.
These diagnostics may be marred by something as simple as a computer glitch or a student needing clarification on the way a question is phrased.
Moreover, there are many limits to what can be tested through the Internet. Concepts, terms and formulas are tested easily enough. However, applying these concepts, such as speaking another language or performing a physical task, is not as practical.
There is also no room for students to think outside the box. Online tests have one answer and one answer only.
Classes that use the Internet as a supplement have the advantage of consistency and flexibility.
Besides becoming familiar with how the class works, the students form a perception of the teacher’s expectations and orient themselves to do better in class
For example, some instructors set a high standard on vocabulary while others prefer their students to comprehend functions, knowing these expectations give students an idea of what the instructor concentrates on most.
Internet-only classes give objectives that are too general to formulate an idea of what is most important.
In a classroom setting, instructors understand when some students have bad days; therefore, they are more apt to provide a second chance to complete an assignment than those who only teach online classes.
I have also found Internet-based classes to be too time-consuming and tedious. A two-day-a-week class requires daily monitoring for any new assignments, and there is a constant possibility of a change in plans.
The online resources that are supposed to be all-encompassing are overwhelming.
Videos and Power Points frequently overlap the same material, and what’s supposed to be reinforcement becomes a redundant nuisance.
Interactive e-labs and online video lectures are never going to come close to the experiences offered by one-on-one teaching in traditional classes.