Some Students Prefer Taking Classes Online


Andy Steele lives just a few blocks from the campus of Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D., so commuting to class isn’t the problem. But he doesn’t like lectures much, isn’t a morning person, and wants time during the day to restore motorcycles.

So Steele, a full-time senior business major, has been taking as many classes as he can from the South Dakota state system’s online offerings. He gets better grades and learns more, he says, and insists he isn’t missing out on the college experience.

“I still know a lot of people from my first two years living on campus, and I still meet a lot of people,” he says. But now, he sets his own schedule.

At least 2.3 million people took some kind of online course in 2004, according to a recent survey by The Sloan Consortium, an online education group, and two-thirds of colleges offering “face-to-face” courses also offer online ones. But what were once two distinct types of classes are looking more and more alike – and often dipping into the same pool of students.

Comments 1

  • I have to say that I’m in the group of students who prefer online learning. It’s better for someone like me in just about every possible way: Chief among the reasons for this is that independent learners do much better reading a book than listening to a lecture (especially if it’s in the morning and the student doesn’t want to be there). Aside from that there are also significant savings involved with telecommuting to school. In theory, you could get a 2 year degree online without ever spending a penny on transportation, which can equal big bucks over that period of time. Finally, while most people say that the online school experience isolates a student, I think it’s quite the opposite; you just get to choose who to associate with instead of being thrown in a group of people you might never choose to spend time with.

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