Thursday, 16 February 2017

Traditional Classroom Instruction vs Distance Education Online

Online or classroom 

Many community colleges now offer medical assistant classes that are strictly web based and hybrid courses where all, or most of the required course work and instruction is done online. 

Our local community college, for example, offers 3-4 credit online courses in accounting, biology, algebra, medical computer applications, word processing, computer sciences, economics, English composition, pharmacology, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, certification exam prep for Health Information Technology and many more online.

The only time you see enrolled distance education students show up on campus is when they take their mid-term and final exams on paper (if required, because even that can be done online). 

Some schools make provisions for their students to come in once a week for an hour, or two, to review certain skills, especially if they require hands on supervision under the guidance of an instructor, such as, for example a credit hour course in phlebotomy technology, or biology lab.

Do Online Students Fare As Well As Students Who Received Traditional Classroom Instruction? 

Whether students in online or hybrid courses fare better than those in a traditional classroom is debatable. 

Surely, there can be certain challenges and pitfalls in both; for example, self-discipline, commitment and extra motivation to make sure you learn and understand the material is important in either setting, however, a hidden pitfall could be that you might forget to turn in all of your assignments on time without the face-to-face reminder from the instructor and without their classroom peers and face-to-face interaction with faculty some students might not have the extra motivation needed to do the independently study as necessary to excel.

Since online programs utilize the Internet and email students must have access to the Internet (which includes a computer, keyboard, browser, mouse, Internet service and electricity), and have a solid understanding of the computer to access the courses.

Possible Pitfalls When Utilizing Online Program Technologies

One form of technology distance education schools use to facilitate their programs online is the Blackboard e-education platform, to name just one of many, a technology where registered students log in with their assigned user name and password.

When taking a quiz or exam online there are a number of factors to consider, such as using a reliable computer and compatible browser, a reliable connection and having plug in programs installed such as Java(tm) software, Adobe Reader(tm), and often, running some sort of word processing program, such as Microsoft Office Word(tm). 

If the computer is not operating properly, or the connection is suddenly interrupted, all work could be instantly lost without being submitted and the student is locked out of the test. Often, there are time limits imposed and if a student stays on a page too long the session will time out and renders the student unable to submit the exam.

In addition, there could be an issue with accidentally hitting the Enter button, instead of the space bar or tab. This could lead to having an answer being locked in and submitted with no way to go back. 

Often, the Back button is disabled or causes work to be lost when utilized. When completing the test be sure to click the SUBMIT button to ensure the test is sent to your instructor. Yes, online students often even forget this.

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