Colleges Offer Lectures Online AKA I Can Go To Class in My PJs!

BlogHer Original Post

Don’t tell my parents, but sometimes I skip class. For no good reason other than I just want to stay in my pajamas, lie in bed and not sit in a lecture hall with 100 other students who also just woke up. And as I begrudgingly brush my teeth — which is the extent of my morning hygiene ritual on days like these — I think, "If only I could go to class with out actually going to class ..."

Well, some colleges are giving students the option to do just that by broadcasting lectures through online video.

Not to be confused with strictly online courses, these courses that employ "distance learning" are standard lecture-hall classes that stream the entirety of the lecture online. The growing popularity of these virtual class broadcasts begs the question, are these courses an apt substitute for the traditional lecture?

The University of Florida is one college that began using this methodology after course popularity and lack of funds left certain classes with as many as 1,500 enrolled students and no lecture hall to fit them.

Florida professor Megan Mocko believes an advantage to this form of education is students’ ability to stop and rewind the lecture when they don’t understand something.

University of Florida provost Joe Glover argues,

Quite honestly, the higher education industry in the United States has not been tremendously effective in the face-to-face mode if you look at national graduation rates. At the very least we should be experimenting with other modes of delivery of education.

Many universities are making this shift from learning in class to online.

• University of Iowa: As many as 10 percent of 14,000 liberal arts undergraduates take an online course each semester.

• University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: First-year Spanish students are only offered online instruction.

• University of Florida: Resident students are earning 12 percent of their credit hours online this semester, a figure expected to grow to 25 percent in five years.

Not everyone is happy about this new method of teaching. University of Florida senior Kaitlyn Hartsock said, "My mom was really upset about it. She felt like she’s paying for me to go to college and not sit at home and watch through a computer."

Research also showing students who take online foreign language courses do slightly less well in grammar and speaking -- Well, ¡obviamente, gente!

If I wanted to learn a foreign language without going to class, I’d get Rosetta Stone. While online courses may be less costly for the school, they aren’t always more beneficial for the student. In fact, at the university I attend and most other universities, if I want to take an online course, I have to pay an additional per credit fee. An online course I was considering taking would have added an addition $1000 to my tuition cost for the semester.

As a tired, lazy student, I definitely see the appeal in these live stream lectures — only waking up minutes before class, not having to walk to the lecture hall when it’s cold and rainy, shamelessly “going to class” in my pajamas.

I also see the appeal as a scholarly, well-applied student — the ability to learn lecture lessons at my own pace, no enrollment limit means no stressing out about not getting into a class, shamelessly "going to class" in my pajamas ...

These online lectures are a convenient and useful option for students to have but not necessarily a substitute to being physically present in a classroom. Part of college is being involved in this social and academic environment, learning cohesively as stressed-out, tired, but ambitious 20-somethings. You can’t replicate that in its entirety from a computer screen.

Would you rather have attended these laptop lectures as a student? How do you feel about this as an option for your kids?

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