Online Education Pitfalls

Online education: it seems so simple, so convenient. So perfect for you? It could be; however, there are several mistakes that online teachers frequently see students make, according to The US News & World Report.

The US News & World Report published eight, common mistakes associated with online education.

 1. Not verifying the school’s credibility: Most students go to college and other schools to receive credits. However, some employers and colleges simply will not accept some online schools’ credits. They put no credence in some of these unaccredited online schools. Therefore, attending certain online schools are a waste of time and money. Students should verify an online college’s accreditation with the federal government. Also, students should check with other colleges and companies to find out if they will accept credits from a certain online school.

 2. Underestimating the workload of online schools: How hard can a college be when one can go to class at his/her computer in pajamas, eating a gargantuan bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, not caring about the cinnamon swirled milk that’s dripping down the chin? Well…just as hard as any traditional college with a 100+ person lecture hall. Sometimes these online classes can be harder than attending a traditional college. Students should understand the workload of an online college before attending and paying for it.

 3. Not understanding what type of learner you are: Online education is much more disconnected than a traditional college experience. You can’t nudge your neighbor and ask for a pencil. You can’t tell the professor to slow down. There is much less interaction between professor and student. Some students can watch the lecture online and quickly understand it. However, others rely on asking questions before and after class. Some rely on the experience of being in a class room more than others. Students need to be very self-motivated to succeed in an online scenario and attentively watch lectures. It’s much harder to pay attention to an online lecture when there is a TV staring over your shoulder, prying your attention away from a man in a bow tie talking about economics.

4. Technology/Compatibility issues: Students should ensure that they will be able to watch class lectures and receive all of the necessary information on their home computers. Slow Internet connections could be a problem. Also, students should check to see which computer programs are needed for the class such as Microsoft Excel, Adobo Photoshop, etc.

5. Having a bad teacher: Teaching online is far different than teaching in a traditional classroom. You might already know more about this than some professors do because you just read the previous sentence. It’s better to take online classes with a professor who has previously taught online courses.

6. Taking too many classes: Ever heard of the saying, your eyes are bigger than your stomach? Well, similar to that, your mouse clicker is bigger than your brain. Get it? No? Ok, how about this then: online education can be more demanding than traditional, and students should ease into the process; rather than immediately diving into several, challenging classes.

7. Plagiarizing: It’s never a good idea. With online education, teachers can download anti-cheat software to scan papers for plagiarism. Avoid the temptations; it’s easier to get caught with online classes.

8. Not keeping up with group projects: No normal civilian, other than professors and teachers, will ever fully understand why teachers love group projects so much. There are many speculations and theories. The strongest is that they better prepare students for the real world. Group projects do successfully achieve that goal. But, teachers just love them. Online teachers are no different, and students in online classes will likely participate in virtual group projects with other online students. These are much different than traditional group projects, and students need to be able to work well with others online.

            Essentially, online classes are incredibly different than traditional classes. Students need to fully understand the differences.