BY ANGELA JONES
COON RAPIDS- “I take seated classes because I don’t like online content. There have only been a few occasions when I thought online content made class easier” says student Madi McCormick.
She isn’t the only one who could do without the online elements required for many class here at Anoka Ramsey.
“It’s less personal, it doesn’t draw me into the content as well” Derek Callender has to say about assignments online as part of the class curriculum.
Most ARCC students are required to have a working knowledge of the D2L system in order to receive class updates, be able to turn in assignments, take quizzes, and participate in online discussions. Those are just some of the more common features available for use. Students were asked their feelings on teachers moving content to online and whether or not this added difficulty or convenience to their experience with classes.
Students such as Sudhindran Raghavendran are concerned with the functionality of the website itself. “I understand it makes grading easier, but the computer sites and programs can be buggy and not nearly reliable as just bringing a sheet of paper in,” he says.
Not all students are wary about the online involvement required outside the class room. In fact, students’ opinions on the matter appear to be generally split.
“I feel that empowers teachers and students to dig into more content with a critical mindset. It expands the classroom beyond the border of four walls,” a mass communications student describes as their feeling towards the online content.
Sammi Hemkin appreciates the features the Internet makes available for the class. She shares “I love that teachers put stuff online. I can go back and look at content and I can turn assignments in online. I think it’s a lot easier.”
Students also enjoy other features such as the ease of access and data storage. “I like online content because it’s always there, I can’t misplace anything,” says Emily Johnson. “I think it’s easy to go online and type something up rather than writing a full length page by hand.”
While some aspects made available online are more appreciated by students, others aren’t as enjoyed. When it comes to communicating there seems to be no substitute for having person to person contact.
Although Kelsey Terrio finds having online content useful at times, she still much prefers to be in class to have conversations. Her thoughts are “ that having assignments and notes available for students online is easier and a very useful resource. However, having discussions and chat room classes online are not as effective as having in-class discussion or lecture.”
Aimee Spencer also prefers being able to interact in person, she says “the only thing I wouldn’t like is having classes in a chat room. I just feel like if I’m paying to go to class, I want to go. If I wanted to take an online course I would have.”
Many students can agree that a balance between their experience inside and outside the classroom as a part of their curriculum can be the key in their success.
“The classroom experience is a good foundation and online content just adds some walls. As long as I have a strong in-class base I’m fine with online,” Talia Johnson describes as her experience with technology along with being in class.
“Technology is bittersweet. It is so hard to keep up with the mountain of more tech focused classes and courses. If people aren’t familiar with online capabilities and resources they tend to struggle more,” Allen Anderson observes. “On the other hand, it allows individuals to excel at a faster pace and expand their learning outside of the classroom. This tool in the curriculum can be very advantageous for people familiar with technology.”
While technology and online content may be here to stay, how it is used still continues to vary. It continues to be in the hands of the teacher of what to allow and incorporate and in the hands of the student to determine how it applies to their education and success. A new generation of tech savvy students could allow for further expansion. Until then students are experiencing an era where technology may be necessary for participation whether they are taking an online course or come to class on a daily or weekly basis.