Online classes at NC State are often seen as a convenience for students and teachers. However, there are many limitations associated with them including miscommunication, learning and retaining the material, and misuse of free time.
Alyssa Wrighton, a second-year studying psychology, discussed her problem with communicating with her professor in her online class.
“I didn’t know really how to communicate with her,” Wrighton said. “I guess I could have emailed her, but emailing a teacher, it’s just so impersonal to me. I need to ask questions and get responded to right then so that I can ask follow-up questions. For me to send you an email with all of my questions and you send me an email back, it might not answer all of my questions the way I need them answered. It’s not really effective.
Seth Hodges, a fourth-year studying business administration, also talked about the obstacles he endured in the several online classes he’s taken at NC State.
“For online lessons, they mostly have video lectures so it is much harder to pay attention since you could be playing on your phone or watching TV,” Hodges said. “It’s a lot easier to take shortcuts for online classes because… all of my online classes were electives such as nutrition classes or health and wellness courses. I procrastinated and took more shortcuts since it didn’t impact my major too much.”
According to Benjamin Murphy, a lecturer in the English department, professors also face their fair share of limitations. Murphy has taught both online classes and in-person classes; he discussed the obstacles with communication in online classes.
“I feel that I communicate better with humans face to face than online, and that’s true for in the classroom and outside of the classroom,” Murphy said. “So, I think being able to communicate and having a tone of voice and facial expressions is very important, which is absent in online classes. The material tends to be the same; there just tends to be less communication between both parties, which makes it harder to assess how successful the lesson is.”
Professor Murphy also discussed why online classes are not meant for some students and may benefit others more.
“Online assignments and online classes in general require a greater degree of independence and discipline,” Murphy said. “For students who have that, I don’t think there’s a real difference in terms of grades. I think it’s important for students to be able recognize if they themselves are well suited for online classes or if they require the structure and rigidity of an in-person format. That is not something you necessarily know until you are in a situation which requires assistance.”