Online or On-Campus

We learn something new everyday, and as technology rapidly accelerates, education is becoming more available to people throughout the world. All someone needs is a smartphone and an internet connection to have the world at their fingertip. Subsequently, people wonder and debate whether it’s better to learn in a classroom setting or through a computer screen, ie, online or on-campus. Therefore, I thought sharing my experience with students would help them make an informed decision.

This spring is my third semester of college, and during my first two, I solely did online courses, ranging from English classes to Accounting, or STEM-related ones in computer science and calculus. Unlike the myth, online is not less demanding or rigorous than on campus-courses; they’re very similar. Online and on-campus professors both follow schedules based on their syllabi. They both present similar challenges: difficult material, a requirement for time management, and discovering how the class functions. Finally, in both contexts, there should be a professor present who enjoys his or her job and wants to foster growth and critical thinking. I enjoyed my online courses for these reasons, but the essential reason I took online courses is that they were convenient for me, which is also why many other students take them.

When taking online courses, students can create a learning environment tailored to their learning style and needs. For example, they don’t need to over study a topic if they feel comfortable on it, which may occur in a group class setting; or on the contrary, students can spend as much time as they need to understand something. This independence can appear daunting sometimes, but people can succeed in virtual classes with some determination and a proactive mindset. They don’t have to feel alone, either. They can reach out to other students through discussion boards, or they could email their professors to ask a question or schedule a review session. They should try to answer the problem themselves first, though. Practicing this skill will help make a student more marketable to the workforce since he or she will have acquired valuable problem-solving skills.

In conclusion, I’d recommend online courses to students because they maintain high standards and develop competency and self-sufficiency. Most professionals suggest having both an online and in-person class because then students can have both sets of benefits, and I fully agree with them.

Forget to Learn

A student learns that he has a test coming up sometime next week; a week goes by, and the student just now starts studying for his exam: the day before it! We’ve all been there; sometimes, it’s unavoidable, but students who continuously fall into this trap of procrastinating need to improve their study methods.

One of the best scientifically proven ways to study is through spacing assignments, known as the spacing effect. Students divide their studying time up into multiple periods, instead of all at once, which is called cramming. Cramming will help students remember information in the short run; however, they will lose this knowledge over time. Spacing has the opposite effect: it is less stressful, and students will have more time to process information and store it into their long-term memories. According to numerous studies, students who study through spacing perform significantly higher on retests compared to students who crammed.

One major criticism from learners who are new to the spacing method is that they forget what they learn. They feel frustrated because the material they spent time practicing days before they’ve since forgotten and now need to relearn. Their perception is justifiable; people are bound to forget some information, but what they don’t realize is how crucial forgetting is in the learning process.

When students must relearn material, they strengthen their neural connections involving the subject, which helps them solidify the knowledge. Ultimately, most courses in school build on previous ones, so it’s imperative for students to understand and recall information from prior units. For example, when a student enters Algebra Two, it’s assumed that they know the material from Algebra One, and the course will build on those topics. However, if the student only crammed for the Algebra One tests, then most of that material has been lost, and there are many gaps. While initially, it may frustrate students to relearn material that they’ve just studied, it’s an essential part of the learning process. Finding these gaps also exposes what the student must review more, and by doing so, they will strengthen those connections and have greater ease remembering the material later.

The opposite effect occurs during cramming; students proceed past the unit without retaining much of what they’ve learned. Students can avoid this dilemma by working on their assignments diligently, quizzing themselves without aid from their notes, and acknowledging areas that require more attention. By implementing these strategies, they’ll create the habits to succeed in whatever field they’re pursuing, from sports to law enforcement to medical school.