Online learning is quickly progressing as we move through the higher education experience. Allen and Seaman (2010) states that staring in 2002, online enrollment consisted of over 16 million students and in 2009 jumped to a little over 19 million students in online courses. Online learning can consist of many elements such as a fully online course or a course that meets maybe once a week and then the remainder of the course is online or even a face to face class that incorporates some form of online function to enhance the learning experience. I think the more that education branches out to provide online course opportunities, the more institutions will be able to reach out to those commuter and part-time students to achieve and increase in enrollment.
However, although online learning has been around for a while, surprisingly, there are still many students who avoid this great opportunity. As an academic advisor, I have seen many students who avoid online classes as much as possible because they are nervous about the format of the course, however, I try to promote the convenience of an online course as well as the accessibility of the course. Personally, even though online learning is a great opportunity for accommodating commuters and part-time students, I can see where online learning is not for everyone, I think it truly requires you to be self-disciplined to keep up the “relaxed” nature of an online course. I say relaxed because for the most part, even though you have deadlines, it can be easy to put off course work for and online course or even forget to completely do an assignment give that you are not going to the actually class 2-3 times a week to be reminded. That is why it’s very important to be self-disciplined for online courses, to manage the course load in a timely manner.
Given that online learning is becoming more and more common within higher education, it think it would be important for administrators to take the time to help students learn how online courses work and to discuss the benefits of taking an online course. The benefits of an online course to me is that I can still work a full time job and at the same time, find time to enroll in school and work on my course work on my own time rather than a specific day and time. When students first begin their higher education journey, they typically have to attend some form of orientation and this could be the perfect opportunity to discuss and encourage online learning and how it can help play a role in a student’s academic success.
Allen, I.E. & Seaman, J., (2010). Class difference: Online education in the United States. Retrieved from https://learn.dcollege.net/bbcswebdav/pid-5012848-dt-content-rid-25166884_1/courses/21772.201625/Week%2010/Week%2010%20Additional%20Content/Allen_Seaman_2010.pdf