Last fall, as I began my senior year of college – my seventeenth year of school – I found it increasingly harder to sit still or pay attention in class. Not only had seventeen years of the weekly routine worn me down, I had packed my schedule so tightly with extracurricular activities, work and other events in an attempt to make my resume stand out from the rest, that I no longer had time to waste sitting in classrooms making lists of things I could be getting accomplished. It was time for a change.
This semester I signed up for two online classes with the hope that I could find time in my busy schedule to devote to them.
Middle Tennessee State University is one of thousands of universities that currently offer more than 100 online classes each semester.
According to The Peak Group, an education technology firm, “one million students took online classes in 2004,” and that number is expected to grow rapidly each year.
Online classes are taken for university credit, are taught over the Internet and are offered in a wide range of disciplines. Some of the tools used for online classes include email, message boards and electronic quizzes.
One benefit of online classes is that students receive more one-on-one attention from teachers than they do in a normal classroom setting.
“It is so easy to just send the teacher an email when you don’t understand something you have read,” Kristin Edwards, communications major at the University of Louisville, said. “The response is usually much quicker because the teacher is expected to check their mail on a daily basis.”
Online classes are great for people who work full-time, have family to take care of, live far from a university or just prefer to work at their own pace. Online classes require self-discipline and time management, but they engage students in ways that traditional classroom settings do not.
” I work full-time at a law firm, so I work on my class work when ever I get a free moment – usually late at night” said Edwards.
Online classes have still required a lot of work, but I have been able to choose when the work gets done. I have learned to budget my time wisely, and I’ve found that I accomplish a lot more when I work at my own pace. I now have time for extracurricular activities, work and twenty-one hours of classes. By taking online classes I have alleviated a lot of the stress I felt this time last year.