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Would you rather take online or traditional college courses?

Asked at Jefferson's Restaurant, 743 Mass. on December 19, 2005

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Photo of Jacqueline LeSege

“I would rather take traditional college courses because I need that one-on-one interaction with the teacher and the classroom atmosphere.”

Photo of Jason Mitchum

“I prefer traditional, but the class I’m taking right now is online. … It is pretty convenient because I’m always on the computer anyway.”

Photo of Jeff Dasenbrock

“I would prefer to take traditional courses. I just learn better in an environment where there is more discussion of issues and where someone is right there to answer your questions.”

Photo of Tiffany Horsefield

“Traditional. I took a couple of online courses, and I feel like I didn’t learn nearly as much. It didn’t have enough structure, and you can really only learn the information that’s in the books.”

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enochville 12 years, 5 months ago

Both have their advantages if done well. I suppose that I'd enjoy a mixture of both.

beatrice 12 years, 5 months ago

Been there, done that, so is neither a worthy answer? Just think, now kids can be homeschooled, and then get a college degree online. A complete education without ever actually interacting with other human beings. I wonder how well they will do in the work place.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 5 months ago

Went 7 years to the real thing. Now I'm a stay-at-home mom. I want to go back again someday. My goal is to become a life-long student...or at least until it gets too difficult to traverse the stairs:)

killjoy 12 years, 5 months ago

I've had both. The traditional classes are the only ones worthy of my time & money. Getting a Masters through online classes is easy, but nothing to be proud of. These programs are nothing but cash cows for the schools.

I see these as a roundabout way to get an education, but you contact fewer fruitcakes. The good thing about getting your degrees is that you may be able to afford to hire a designated driver(to avoid DUIs) and a live xmas tree.

badger 12 years, 5 months ago

It depends.

I got my degree in traditional classes, and I think that I couldn't have done it online. It's pretty hard to take vertebrate physiology lab or organic chemistry lab by correspondence course; the dissection specimens and fume hoods present some technical considerations with regard to shipping.

However, after graduating, I took some software training courses online, and it essentially amounted to booting up the program, logging into the tutoring interface, and really using the program with direct interaction with the training program, keyed to my speed and ability level, that I could spend ten minutes or two hours a night on.

For a full degree, nothing replaces the personal interaction of a classroom setting, with the teacher and other students all contributing in a real-time discussion. But for follow-up training, the online approach really has its merits.

canyon_wren 12 years, 5 months ago

I haven't taken any online courses, though I have had a few by correspondence through major universities, and feel there is no substitute for traditional classes.

I've always been curious as to how many of these online "degrees" are valid and recognized as such. In my opinion, the widespread offering of these goes a long ways toward "devaluing" higher education in general and I think it won't be long till a college degree will mean absolutely nothing.

While I am sure that there are some fields of study (business?) out there that might be taught adequately online, I feel like the ones that deal with people (education, criminal justice, etc.) would require a lot more in the way of human interaction to be valuable.

I also believe that being on campus--dealing with professors and other students--is one of the more important facets of a college education and people who get a degree online are getting a less-than-complete education.

I know that folks will say "that's an elitist viewpoint" and "not everyone can afford to attend college." But my college experience cost my folks a total of $300 and I paid for the rest working during college, and sometimes paying non-resident tuition, so I am not speaking from a position of advantage that few enjoy.

Ceallach 12 years, 5 months ago

At this time of my life :) I would prefer to take online courses. My classes are mostly supplemental in nature to keep pace with new technology that would benefit my ongoing projects.

I agree that traditional classes are more beneficial to someone just starting their educational career. Classroom, campus, and faculty interaction are vital to developing the coping skills a person needs in either academic or corporate America. However for either adults taking night and weekend courses or the younger students taking courses they were unable to get during enrollment, online provides a very welcomed alternative.

Using online courses straight through for a degree -- not if there is any other option for the student.

rhd99 12 years, 5 months ago

I prefer traditional college courses, especially when starting right out of high school. Now that I have a B.A., thinking about going to Grad School (maybe), I still lean towards the traditional courses. I prefer the one-on-one attention of the professors. Online courses don't offer the one-on-one attention a student needs to succeed.

Ceallach 12 years, 5 months ago

btw, speaking of students (off-topic Nazis save yourself some pain by skipping this post) -- I attended a concert last Friday evening given by a KU student who is a music major. [[She has a strong tie to one of our regular OTS posters.]] It was wonderful!! A collection of Christmas -- yes, I said the word ~~~~ (fear and trembling) songs. The evening was a beautiful blend of traditional, pop, Native American, European, Negro spiritual and children's songs. The strength and depth of her voice were amazing enough, combine those with the fact that she performs from a seated position (she daily struggles with physical challenges) and you have an idea of what a tremendous talent she possesses. A very memorable concert.

She has one more performance, this Wednesday evening at the First Christian Church, 10th & Kentucky at 7:00 p.m. I highly recommend attendance.

ms_canada 12 years, 5 months ago

I am a perpetual student. Having attained my degree, I now study for the joy of it and I do prefer to be in a classroom and preferably a small class where much discussion takes place. I have taken many courses over the years, psychology, and several languages, nature courses also and of course Bible studies and history courses. Like sunflower sue, a lifetime of study would suit me just dandy. I think it would be fantastic to die sitting in a classroom desk discussing some aspect of history. I also find much joy in reading something online as long as I can discuss it with someone afterwards

sunflower_sue 12 years, 5 months ago

Ceallach, wish I were able to go to the concert on Wed evening. You've got me very intrigued and my family and I love to attend all kinds of art performances. Sounds like it was wonderful!

Ragingbear 12 years, 5 months ago

I actually like the concept of the online courses. But I believe that they need to be balanced by actual trained professors. A friend of mine only goes to college once or twice a week to the professor's class, but takes the online course every night.

I like this, you can do things on your schedule, and you don't have to mess with the hassle of travel, distractions and whatnot.

And if you want to meet a Barista, go to a coffee shop. There are only a zillion or two in Lawrence.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 5 months ago

ots question answer: depends on the course material/field of study. online often can't and shouldn't replace face-to-face studies in many areas!

OMB, this IS your online course, and the OTS final will be presented to you, your computer will autostart and you will be unable to leave the immediate presence of the computer until you complete it. failure is NOT an option! included will be questions on x> roundabouts x> balloon bans. x> personal attacks of 2005 on ots. x> recipes of 2005. and...many more start studying now.


finally, if I get another ad for university of phoenix online, on my computer, I think I will find their servers and personally destroy them with an indian firestick...every time their damnd #$%^@#$%@%^@#%^ ad gets on my computer it slows things down to a crawl! even if I wanted to take them flippin' courses, this makes me hate them before ever taking a course from university of phoenix online!!!!!

beatrice 12 years, 5 months ago

Here's a sample question from an on-line class on morality:

With all your honor and dignity what would you do?

This test only has one question, but it's a very important one.

Please don't answer it without giving it some serious thought. By giving an honest answer you will be able to test where you stand morally.

The test features an unlikely, completely fictional situation, where you will have to make a decision one way or the other. Remember that your answer needs to be honest, yet spontaneous. Please scroll down slowly and consider each line - this is important for the test to work accurately.

You're in Florida...In Miami, to be exact. There is great chaos going on around you, caused by a hurricane and severe floods. There are huge masses of water all over you. You are a CNN photographer and you are in the middle of this great disaster. The situation is nearly hopeless. You're trying to shoot very impressive photos. There are houses and people floating around you, disappearing into the water. Nature is showing all its destructive power and is ripping everything away with it.

Suddenly you see a man in the water, he is fighting for his life, trying not to be taken away by the masses of water and mud. You move closer. Somehow the man looks familiar.

Suddenly you know who it is -- it's George W. Bush!

At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to take him away, forever. You have two options. You can save him or you can take the best photo of your life. So you can save the life of George W. Bush, or you can shoot a Pulitzer prize winning photo, a unique photo displaying the death of one of the world's most powerful men.

And here's the question (please give an honest answer):

Would you select color film, or rather go with the simplicity of classic black and white?

The_Analyst 12 years, 5 months ago


 You mentioned that getting an online degree is nothing to be proud of.  I, along with many others, will take that as your opion and not fact.  Many, I am sorry to say, are influenced by comments such as yours.  I find getting a degree very worth while online as well as in a class room.  There are so many situations out in the crazy world that having online course helps people to get further educated.  The more people we have educated the better I think this world could be.  And, we would not meet some many fruitcakes...LOL.  I hope I did not misinterprete your remarks but I felt strong about this subject.  I am one of those people that online classes helps me out.


killjoy 12 years, 5 months ago

O' bearded one,

About the U of Phoenix ads, have you tried using Mozilla's Firefox browser instead of Internet Explorer, it's free? Also, the free versions of Adaware and Spybot are well worth their price. Here a list of useful PC info. that I made for a friend that needed help:

To protect your home PC, I recommend the following:

  1. Antivirus: ALWAYS have a antivirus program running on your PC that scans your email and ALWAYS have it update the virus signatures at least once per week. I like Norton Antivirus, but there are several other good programs. I don't think the brand name is as important as making sure you have it running and keep it updated.

  2. AntiSpyware: Use a free anti spyware program such as Spybot or Adaware. I use both because the features compliment each other. You can download these for free from the Internet and they really are a must-have now. Spyware programs are small programs that are hidden in even legitimate software that send info about you and your PC without you permission. They can slow your PC way down and even do harmful things. Over 90% of PCs have some form of spyware on them.

  3. Firewall or router: If you have a Cable or DSL Internet connection, you should consider using a firewall, a router or both. There are several decent free firewalls available that you can download. A cheap router will run less than $40.00. Firewalls and routers hide your Internet address from hackers. If you don't use these, turn your PC off when not in use.

  4. Windows updates: Use the Windows updater feature on your PC and download the critical updates for your PC. It will scan your PC and tell you what to update. It isn't difficult, but it may take a few minutes. Your PC and/or Browser should have a link to Windows updates.

  5. Wireless routers: These are great if you use a laptop or can't reach your desktop with a wired connection, but you have to use encryption, WEP or WPA at minimum, and turn off the SSID to keep your neighbors and hackers from using your connection.

  6. Alternative browser: Mozilla's Firefox browser is a good alternative to Internet Explorer. Because most browser exploits are geared to Internet Explorer and the add-on features like Java and DirectX. You can pick your add-ons in Firefox. It may take some simple tweaking, but I like the added security.

killjoy 12 years, 5 months ago

Where to get this stuff:

Antivirus programs: Any store that sells computer software; Best Buy, Walmart, Office Depot, or you can even download them from the Internet. Plan on spending $30.00-$60.00 the first time and then about $15.00 - $20.00 each year to update the subscription. You HAVE to have this.

Antispyware programs; Download them from the Internet. Do a Google search for Spybot and Adaware, then download them from one of their sites. Adaware is the better of the two, but Spybot has an inoculation feature that is nice.

Firewalls: You can download free versions. ZoneAlarm is a good one from Sygate makes a good one, but a word of caution. some of these can be difficult to work with and may have compatibility issues. A router may be easier, but it is more expensive.

Routers: This will run $40.00 or less. It goes between your cable or DSL modem and your PC. There are many good brands. I've used several and like them. Make sure to use the security settings. Read the directions don't just plug it in and forget it or you're missing part of the protection.

Wireless routers: They're on sale every weekend in the BestBuy Office depot flyers. (Netgear & Linksys are good. Linksys has fewer bugs, but Netgear is always on the leading edge) The Internet has some good deals too.

killjoy 12 years, 5 months ago


OK I admit I was a little too arrogant-sounding with the comment about "nothing to be proud of". As others have pointed out, online courses have their place. I agree any education is better than none.

l_eustacy 12 years, 5 months ago


Here are a couple of other maint. tips clear your browser history, cache, & cookies run disk cleanup at least once per week (takes less than 1 min.) defrag your hard drive It may take awhile depending on size. Start it , then go to bed.

I like to reformat and reinstall everything annually.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 5 months ago

thanks eustacy, omb, and killjoy. eustacy, I already do that set of steps regularly.

omb/killjoy, I have adaware se/personal, but I must not have something enabled. I sincerely appreciate the links and will employ them right away1

omb: you better be studying for that final...failing grade means you have to be in charge of designing and placing lawrence's next 48 roundabouts, and naming them!

bearded_gnome 12 years, 5 months ago

"KU beats Pepperdine" by a big, couldn't see that one coming--NOT!

now, could KU beat Pepperdine in a surfing competition? no, not surfing the WWW, but the kind of surfing that went on before there were computers upon the land! now, there's a competition Pepperdine oughta win!

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