Blame students for low online course grades
Earning a degree by taking low-cost online courses has been a theme that steadily has become more popular with college students. But some experts now question whether this new-age method of learning actually is as beneficial as institutions might hope.
In a recent study conducted by Columbia University’s Community College Research Center, researchers found online courses contribute to widening achievement gaps among students in different demographic groups.
By examining the behaviors of more than 40,000 community and technical college students, the study found students in demographic groups, whose members typically struggled in traditional classrooms, had a higher degree of difficulty transitioning to online work. These groups included black students, male students, younger students and students with lower GPAs.
The study concluded students who enroll in more online courses, no matter their demographic, ultimately are less likely to attain a college degree.
Despite their findings, blaming online courses for the students’ failure seems like an inaccurate conclusion.
Omari Sankofa II
Online courses have revolutionized what it means to be a college student in the modern world.
For a lower cost, people can take classes, broaden their educational horizons and be exposed to new possibilities without ever having to step foot on a college campus.
Through pre-recorded lectures, PowerPoint presentations and online tests and quizzes, online courses offer students the opportunity to make their own schedules and decide when and where they want to study these materials.
Although this newfound opportunity frees students from the woes of waking up for class and worrying about attendance, it introduces a new challenge formerly emphasized: personal responsibility.
Instead of pointing the finger at online courses as the source of their worsening grades, perhaps criticism should be directed toward students themselves.
To receive a desirable grade in an online course, a student must demonstrate a great amount of time-management skills.
Without a set schedule or instructions reminding a student when assignments are due, they can forget to complete their online work and view their class as a “blow off” course.
But this shouldn’t validate pinning the blame on the nature of these classes.
Universities across the country slowly are beginning to offer more online options for their students — broadening the confines of their institution’s reach — and this pattern only is expected to increase.
Although online courses might not be an ideal fit for all students, their framework shouldn’t be looked at as something that impedes an individual’s right to learn.
Students who enroll in these courses should spend more time considering the added responsibility they took on to work online and less on finding someone to blame for their dissatisfaction with the end result.