Surviving Online Education

by blackspanielgallery

There was a tendency for more online classes even before the pandemic. Students need resources for meeting this trend, including college classes.

There are ways for surviving online classes. The first thing one must realize is that the classes are different. Not only is the delivery of the material different, but asking questions when something does not register can also be more difficult, much more difficult.

So, asking a question is just a matter of pushing a button on Zoom, or some other delivery package, right? Maybe, if the person teaching the class is physically there. Not all classes are taught using something like Zoom.

Higher education has been presenting online classes for years. There are several reasons for this, some benefit the school, others benefit the students. The reason might determine the delivery.

How the School Benefits from Online Classes

The obvious reason a school might offer online courses is to reduce the number of students in classrooms.  This allows utilities to be reduced with a large savings.  It also allows a reduction in the school’s carbon footprint by reducing heating and cooling needs, and lighting.  It can also allow delaying or cancelling new building construction.  And one teacher can teach classes that might not physically fit in a classroom.

How the Student Benefits from Online Classes

The student saves both time and money not having to travel to the school.  If the student lives in a dormitory this might not be worth as much.  However, online courses are often touted as courses one can attend when time is available, allowing students to schedule classes more freely.

Excessive Student Accommodations

Some schools try to accommodate as many students as they can.  This often leads to having the teacher post material and assignments online, to be handled by the students when they are able to get to them.  This is contrary to having the teacher physically present during a Zoom session.


The reason for the flexibility is to allow students who work shifts the ability to finish the course.  It helps populate the course, but hinders the student from asking questions.  Even if there is a forum for posting a question and getting an answer a day later there is a problem.  Moving on past a point of confusion is not conducive to proper learning, the question must be asked and answered when the understanding of the material requires it, not a day later.


So, solving one group of students problem happens at the expense of other students’ learning. 

Online Videos vs. Print Resources

There are online learning resources, many of which are free.  Think of the following situation.  A problem in mathematics causes confusion.  A video is readily available.  It is viewed, and the realization is the confusion persists.  Rewinding over and over is a problem, since it is difficult to stop at exactly the right place, especially when that place is unknown.


If a printed supplement is available, it is possible to look back.  Then comes reading slowly.  Ah, try to undo that with a video.  Stop and reread sentence by sentence until the material is grasped.  Try repeating one sentence or phrase with a video.  Then, with the theory marked, try an example, referring back if needed.  Can we say the print has advantages?


Videos do serve a purpose.  If your print resource lacks what you need, you can use a video that is immediately available, even at 2 a.m.


Another problem with videos is some are too lengthy.  I have seen videos exceed ten minutes to explain simple mathematics.  If it is one fine point that needs to be reviewed, watching a ten-minute video is not the answer.

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Updated: 10/24/2020, blackspanielgallery
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blackspanielgallery on 10/29/2020

I hope online is not permanent. I have taught college online courses, and the problem is making the grades meaningful, based on the ease of cheating. Yet it is a temptation some institutions will find difficult to avoid, with the financial savings online brings, Some schools, like medical schools for nursing and medical technicians, do not accept online credit because of what is at stake when their graduates find positions.

DerdriuMarriner on 10/29/2020

blackspanielgallery, Thank you for the practical information and the product lines.
Do you think that online instruction will replace in-person interactions in one physical location or that they will serve as permanent supplements? One nearby city, with re-opening this fall after the spring shutdown, has in-person instruction through the second grade and two days in-person, three days virtual for third through twelfth graders.

blackspanielgallery on 10/24/2020

Yes, for learning they are ideal. Having taught online eliminating cheating when a grade must be given is difficult, but the resources available to handle that are so much better now. Students can be videoed taking tests and reviewed later.

Veronica on 10/24/2020

Yes I did . I always tell my learners to look at books first . Any unknowledgable person can put a page online . A book however is more likely to be well researched and accurate.

My point is that online courses have been excellent during lockdown.

blackspanielgallery on 10/24/2020

Did you see the real point, there will always be a need for books in print?

Veronica on 10/24/2020

I have lost count of how many. Lockdown has been a good opportunity to study. I hope fo finish my latest course on Unuversal suffrafe, this weekend.

Yes , as a teacher i know the importance of " bouncing ideas " off fellow students.

blackspanielgallery on 10/24/2020

Yes, that is one selling point for online courses, but it eliminates presenting to the entire class all at once. What benefits one hinders another, but that is how so many things are, even things not associated with classes.

Veronica on 10/24/2020

Great post. Ty

I have done several online courses since March and thdeyhave all been excellent. YOur point about attending classes at a convenient gtime is a good one. This alone makes them all the more attractive for me.

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