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Mufasa

Online Courses-- What do ya think?

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I have a really crazy semester-- so I'm trying to find a way to lessen my workload while maintaining my jobs and class credit. So I'm thinking about dropping some classes and replacing them with online classes, since I assume that would allow for a bit more flexibility and also might be a bit less time consuming. I'm wondering if any of you guys have experience with online classes. I expect they'll be less intriguing, since I like discussions and debates (my school is mostly seminar-style classes), but they might be a bit more convenient. What are your experiences? My main fear is that I'll get lazy with my online classes, end up on Maniac Muslim instead, and get a bad grade :(

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Question 1: Will you get credit for them?

 

In my opinion for subjects where debate is beneficial, live classes are best. This would also go for experiment based science.

 

For theoretical subjects, such as mathematics, physics, and in some cases biology and chemistry, online classes are good for supplementing and reinforcing information you will have gained in a lecture. The students taking these classes can also be tested effectively.

 

Subjects in which the practical component can be incorporated into an online learning environment, a prime example being computer science, are well suited to being taught in online classes. In my opinion, having completed both a degree in computer science and a few online computer science classes, I would say (at least in computer science) the quality of many online classes is on a par with teaching and tutoring within a University environment. Some of them have better teaching than the classes I actually took at university (and some of them are worse). This is probably not all that surprising since online class materials are often designed and delivered by some of the best lecturers in the field. Often a lecturer will give exactly the same course online that they give in their own institute. The explosion in popularity of online classes pretty much grew out of computer science (as far as I am aware) since it is the ideal subject to deliver online. I have also seen a lot of economics courses offered online (but they are more to do with analysing markets and mathematics than the actual ideologies).

 

I think video lectures are better in some regards than live lectures as they allow you to skip things you know and repeat things that you don't quite get. However you lose the capacity to hold a discussion with the lecturer. This is a big loss in subjects such as History, Philosophy, Politics etc. Not really much of a deal in something like Computer Science (and probably not such a big deal in math either, maybe a bit of a loss in Physics, but that's an unqualified opinion).

 

I think also with the lack of personal interaction you also lose a sense of responsibility. So deadlines seem more like comalines (I'll wake up eventually and do it).

 

I think since you are more of a humanities guy, it is probably best to stick with your live classes. If you have access to online lectures, you can look at them in your spare time to see if they offer you any sort of new perspective.

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I took an online class in my final year at uni. I found it both easy and hard in terms of making time for it. Usually, I would allocate an hour or 2 per day to get through the material, and use weekends to make detailed notes because we had weekly assignments, and tests and we also had a few large reports to write for it.

 

On the plus side, I didn't have to sit a final exam for it, so my grade was pretty good throughout the semester.

 

I think if you'll be able to seriously put aside one or two hours per day for it, then you should be fine. If you don't trust yourself, then just take a regular class and suffer like the rest of your peers.

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Thanks Ameena and Toast, I think you both talked me out of doing online classes. Truthfully, I have absolutely no time management skills, and there's no way I could get myself to set aside an hour or two per day for a class without anyone overseeing me. Also, if I did have that control to sit at a computer with the intention of doing school work each day, I would end up at a computer on MM, Aljazeera and Facebook instead. So I instead signed up for some classes that seem interesting but that I already know a lot about. Easy grades I hope?

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I took an online class for fun once but without the structure of a schedule, it was really hard to make myself do all the assignments. I also got busy with my 'real' classes and slacked on the online one. I ended up getting partway through a few different ones (through Coursera)

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Are online courses actually recognized? I mean, if I do a diploma in Nutrition from ACS, will it help me if I later want to get a Master's degree or work?

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1 hour ago, Venomystic said:

Are online courses actually recognized? I mean, if I do a diploma in Nutrition from ACS, will it help me if I later want to get a Master's degree or work?

Some online classes allow you to become practitioners but I can't imagine doing that without having someone to advise or counsel. In other words, you'd have to be working for someone. What Masters are you wanting to go into? Usually, the Unis look at whether you can work to that level & to them it's about getting money so they'd probably be more than happy to take you on. 

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1 hour ago, Venomystic said:

Are online courses actually recognized? I mean, if I do a diploma in Nutrition from ACS, will it help me if I later want to get a Master's degree or work?

Some are. Look at who is offering them and whether or not there is accreditation (as a tertiary institute there should be some kind of accreditation process that the course should have gone through first at a national level, for example). Speak to other universities that offer the masters that you may be thinking of doing and check whether they accept the online course.

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