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Online Courses - Essay Example

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A new trend in the education industry is the ability of universities to offer online courses. In 2010, there were approximately 5.6 million students enrolled in at least one online course (Sloanconsortium, 2012). There are hundreds of universities worldwide that offer accredited online education…
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Online Courses Essay
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"Online Courses"

Download file to see previous pages In online courses professors are often referred to as facilitators. There are some similarities between taking an online and a traditional course, but there are also a lot of differences. Students often are exposed to both types of courses in the curriculum of universities. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast traditional and online courses. In traditional school the majority of courses are taken on a semester basis. There are some school systems that are offer trimester courses. The length of a semester is approximately five months, while trimesters are completed in about three months. Online schools are different in their scheduling. A lot of online schools offer courses in six-week spans. A student that takes six-week online courses can complete a master’s degree in 18 months instead of two years. Both online courses and traditional college courses are very challenging and require a full commitment from the students. The grading format of online courses is different than in traditional courses. In traditional courses at universities, the teacher places a lot of weight on examinations. The exam grades often exceed 70% of the total value of the grade. An online course has a different emphasis. Professors in online courses allocate a low portion of the grade to exams and a larger portion to essays or term papers. The participation dynamics of an online course is much different than in traditional course. In a physical college the professor stands in front of a classroom and speaks to the class. Students are able ask questions to interact with the professor. In such a scenario, the professor has full control of the material that is discussed in class. The dynamics in an online course is much different. Online classes utilize a classroom forum for participation purposes. The professor typically posts discussion questions for everyone to answer. The students are supposed to answer the question and also post replies about the answers of other students. In this dynamic the student is more involved than in traditional courses. Online students are provided more opportunities to develop their written communication skills, while in traditional courses the students are able to improve their verbal communication skills. Courses in colleges with physical infrastructure take place in an environment that is well suited for higher learning. In a traditional course the students get to meet face to face. During the course the professor often assigns group projects. Due to the existence of physical contact among the students, the group meets outside of class to coordinate project deliverables. Often, bonds of friendships are formed among students that take the same course. Online courses are a bit different since they tend to be impersonal. Students do not interact with each other since in many instances, students live thousands of miles away. An advantage of online courses is that it helps improve the skills and abilities of students working in virtual teams. “Dispersed teams can actually outperform groups that are collocated” (Siebdrat, 2009). The facilitator in an online course typically assigns more than one team project to be completed by the classmates. Often, online students take advantage of multimedia tools such as Skype to have conversations in real time video with other online students. Smartphones can also be used to have video phone calls with other members of a virtual team located in different parts of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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