Like many other universities, Weber State University is following the trend of offering online classes for its students. Some students thrive with the online model, while others don’t do as well.
“Any way you can get in contact with your instructor, either by email to introduce yourself and ask questions or if you’re on campus one day a week, drop by their office and say hello,” said John Armstrong, an online astronomy professor. “A lot of people do online video introductions for their online course. I think the biggest problem online is when you just communicate through email. Things I would say in person, you wouldn’t worry about it at all, but if I write it in an email, you might be like, ‘Oh, what did he mean by that?’”
Some students take online classes due to their hectic schedules. But a common mistake among students who take online classes is that they don’t schedule enough time and find earning a passing grade difficult.
“I think it goes back to human nature,” said Andrea Jenson, the director of WSU Online. “I think it is very easy to say, ‘This other thing is pressing right now, so my online class can wait, because it doesn’t have a deadline today.’ I think it is important to be honest with yourself and say, ‘Can I put the time in that is required to do well in this class? Is there an equivalent face-to-face class that is better suited to my study habits?’ Also, (it’s helpful) if they remove an expectation of online being easier.”
For students feeling disconnected from people in online classes, Armstrong suggested seeking out the other students in their online classes.
“With any class, but especially an online class, you have to set milestones, make sure you are meeting those milestones,” said Brian Stecklein, the associate dean for Continuing Education at WSU. “You may have to do a little bit more effort to communicate with an instructor if you need help. Don’t be afraid to reach out through email and work with them. Again, it is just that making sure you are always having that schedule in mind.”
Students who take online classes have to be dedicated enough to the courses in order to reach out and ask for help. According to Stecklein, some students don’t feel the need to have that personal interaction. Some people like to get the information and move on.
“I think they (online classes) are kind of convenient,” said Mikayla Bowers, a WSU sophomore. “I’m taking an online class this semester. It (the face-to-face class) didn’t fit into my schedule, but I needed to get it done, so I can get my credits done faster and graduate with my associate’s. So it can be kind of nice because of the convenience factor. It depends, because some of them are harder because you’re not in class with a professor. Some are actually easier than taking the class in person, because they go easier on you because you are online.”