Why online classes are worse than in-person classes


Kernel Opinions Sig

Hathlyn Chapman

There isn’t much that is more destructive to the field of education than online learning. 

Online classes are great concepts, in theory.  When it comes to actually knowing and learning the material, however, online courses do not fulfill the primary purpose of education nearly as well as in-person classes.  

In-person classes engage students in more ways than online courses. They encourage engagement through discussion, class participation, and group work. Face-to-face courses reward students who actively engage themselves in the learning. 

Online classes, while created with good intent, are often more difficult to successfully execute. They typically only require periodic assignments, responses to discussion board posts and occasional examinations. Rather than incorporate aspects of in-person classes that allow students’ knowledge to grow more deeply, online courses focus more on what is going in the gradebook.

In an in-person class, students are able to build relationships with other students as well as the professor. A great face-to-face professor can inspire interest in students in ways that online courses never could. Through personal stories, engaging activities and energetic lecturing, a professor has the ability to spark students’ motivation to learn material and simultaneously love it.

In-person classes also provide many more resources and connections to people than the bare, watered-down content of an online course. In an online setting, your peers and your professor are nothing but an avatar on a screen. There is so much wasted potential. Connections with professors and peers help students progress through school surrounded by like-minded pursuers of education. The more people you know, the more likely you are to have a personal connection with someone willing to help you pursue future goals and career aspirations.    

Perhaps the largest downfall of online learning is the issue of student integrity. How can online professors know whether their students are completing their own work and taking quizzes/tests while only using the content of their own minds?

Measures to deter plagiarism and cheating problems in online learning are often put in place, such as web-cam testing, lockdown browsers, and anti-plagiarism software. These measures, however, are expensive and time consuming for professors who consequently often choose not to utilize them.

Despite these anti-cheating checks, it is still much better to learn in a face-to-face setting. 

In-person classes have a heads up on online classes in many areas, including engagement, networking, student integrity and inspiring the desire to learn. They provide a helpful dialogue for students that helps them not only learn the material, but retain it. For these reasons, I believe that in-person classes are the right choice for students who want to get the most out of their education.