Online Education Term Paper

Pages: 28 (9159 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Teaching

Online Education

Online Learning vs. Traditional (in-Class) Learning

Whether students prefer online learning or in-class learning largely depends on many factors, including how much socialization a student is looking for and whether he or she is happy with the commute and the classroom setting. Some students also go back to college after having been in the workforce for some time, and when this takes place the individuals who do this may feel uncomfortable in a classroom full of much younger peers. These students may also have children and/or aging family members that they have to take care of, and this can prohibit how much time they can spend away from home. Some of these people are also still working, and they do not want to spend all day at work and all evening in class. If they take classes online, they can be more engaged with their families in the evening, and do their schoolwork later, after their children have gone to bed. Online learning gives them the option to have flexibility, but it is not for everyone.

Statement of the Problem

The changes that are brought about by online learning are changing the dynamics of education in this country, and the long-term effects of this have not been studied.

It is true that most people see online learning as a great idea. They feel that it is so convenient for them, and they can work it into their schedule. They also think that they will have all kinds of time because they do not have to go to class, but this is not always the case. Quite often, these people procrastinate, and they leave their work until the last minute, forcing them to scramble and do substandard work to make a deadline. This results in aggravation, poor grades, and a desire to quit. By planning better, a person can have a better online experience for all of their classes.

Many people want the 'full' college experience, though, and for them online learning would not be the right choice. These are people who deeply desire the interaction that they would have on a college campus, and that they would not get sitting in front of their computer, posting to the class message board and uploading their assignments when they are completed. Everyone is different, and colleges and universities are thought to be respecting that by offering both traditional and online classes for their students.

Long-term, though, no one has really looked at what will take place with Online Education. Is it better? Is it worse? Is it too easy to cheat? Are there other concerns that have not been addressed yet, through study of the issue? There are all kinds of different options, and it is important to find a happy medium when it comes to helping people get through school but also determining what these people need to do to really learn their chosen profession. There are some things that are received in a classroom that just cannot be received through the computer, and there are many other college experiences that are unnecessary wastes of time when people are simply trying to learn so that they can further their education and profession.

Some of this might come down to how serious a person is about college, and whether the desire is to have a college experience, or simply to receive a degree that will help with employment and earning potential. These are two very different issues, and while they can be accomplished at the same time, most people often choose one way or the other. This may strongly affect whether they attend a traditional college, or whether they obtain their education through online learning.

Statement of Purpose

The goal of this study is to understand what makes online learning vs. traditional learning successful or unsuccessful for a student. In order to do this, one must have an understanding of both kinds of learning and also of the different kinds of students who are in college today. Demographics, learning styles, monetary considerations, and other issues all affect which choice a student makes when it comes to learning at a traditional college or learning via the Internet.

Research Question

The research question for this particular study is as follows: When it comes to online vs. traditional education, do students prefer one method of learning over the other? There is also one subquestion to this, which is: Through what steps, process, and/or methods should this learning be done?

Significance of the Study

This study is important because studies of this kind of have not been completed, and the long-term effects of learning traditionally or online are not yet known. Whether a person learns more or less in one setting vs. The other depends somewhat on the person, but also on the knowledge that is offered and how it is presented. A study such as this one is important to online and traditional learners, but also to professors and educational administrators, as these individuals are always looking for ways in which they can help students learn more easily and more effectively.

There are important benefits from a study such as this one. These include a clearer and more comprehensive understanding of the issue at hand, as well as a way for future learners to make a better choice as to which option they would like to take. Since every learner is different, he or she will have specific reasons why one learning style might be a better fit than another style. Education professionals will also benefit from this study, because they can make a determination as to which classes they want to offer online, and how many online vs. traditional classes that they wish to offer each semester.

Limitations

Each and every study that is conducted has its own unique limitations which must be addressed. Usually, these have to do with time and with budget constraints. For this study, however, the main limitation is that online learning has not been taking place for a long enough period of time for the researcher to be able to collect any long-term data about it. There have been some other studies into the differences between traditional and online learners and which style works best for a certain type of individual. Despite that, though, there have not been studies of the financial and other affects that are related to online learning vs. traditional learning. This is largely because online learning is so new, but it has been available, at least to some degree, for a long enough period of time now that some conclusions can be drawn. How to do this is a concern because there is no benchmark to follow. Creating a study that has no previous studies like it and ensuring that is handles the task at hand will be the largest limitation, but it can still be addressed effectively and provide a study with merit and validity.

Chapter Two - Review of Related Literature

There are several things that this review is designed to do, but the main focus of it is to examine the specific practices that are employed by colleges and universities and the ideas that have been proposed by researchers, and show how these affect the students when it comes to online learning. Many college students are first-generation students, meaning that no one in their family has been to college before. This is especially true of racial minorities and women. The review is also designed to identify the elements of existing practices of course design so that students that are becoming involved with online learning will know what they are looking at. This will help them to determine what they need to do in order to perform well in online classes and will keep them enrolled in college. Many first-time college students drop out before completing their degrees and it is hoped that the option of online classes will lessen this problem. In addition, however, the students and why they either remain in school or drop out must be better understood.

Tinto (1993) proposed a complex longitudinal, theoretical model of persistence/departure behavior that results from a process of interaction between the individual and the institution. Traditionally, this was used for 'standard' students, meaning those that attended classes on a university campus. However, this can also be extended in today's society to students that attend online-only schools, or to students of 'traditional' universities that are now offering online classes. The integration model examines the relationship between student characteristics, enrollment, involvement behaviors, persistence and attainment, all of which are important to online students as well. These students tend to be female, older (in the 30 to 50 age group), returning to school or attending for the first time, and needing to take online classes because they need to continue to work and/or spend time with their families.

Student characteristics include demographic, family, and high school background characteristics; involvement behaviors address how the student engages in academic and social activities within the institution. Naturally,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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