By Allison Donofrio, Contributing Writer
Myth: Online education is easier than learning on campus.
Online classes and an online degree are not easier than degrees on campus in Lebanon, Radcliff, or Shepherdsville. They take a lot of motivation, organizational skills and self-discipline. Dr. Mathis, Psychology instructor, agreed: “You can’t simply read a chapter and then have an open discussion. You have to thoroughly think through the questions, form an answer, put it in correct tone and grammar, then back it up with references. It’s a lot of work in many ways!”
Logging onto Blackboard can be overwhelming for students because they see their classes in a list, many red notifications in the top right corner and each “module” or “week” that lists each assignment, test, or quiz that is due that week. However, it can be managed by writing down upcoming assignments in a notepad or Microsoft Word document. That way, students will always know what needs to be done and when it is due.
Because they aren’t attending an on campus lecture and may forget when an assignment is due, more self-motivation is often required for online students. If students keep track of their assignments, they will have no problems keeping track of the course overall.
Myth: There is no set schedule for online classes.
It’s understandable why people may believe that online degrees do not have a set schedule. However, that is not the case. When online students click on “modules” in blackboard, they can see each and every assignment due for that week. If they click on the syllabus, they can view an entire itinerary of what chapters they need to read and when those assignments are due, similar to classes on campus.
Just because students are able to complete assignments, tests, or quizzes at their convenience does not mean there are no due dates. Students still need to complete a certain amount of assignments, tests, or quizzes per week in order to stay on track through Blackboard. While student can work ahead if they wish, they shouldn’t get too ahead of the game either. Keeping track of classes will allow students to assure they never fall too far behind.
Myth: Online students aren’t able to communicate with their instructor.
Since some online students may not be able to visit instructors during their office hours on campus, this can make communication difficult. However, this doesn’t mean online students aren’t able to communicate with instructors. Instructors are available to answer questions through email and also have a page dedicated to contact information. It typically lists their McKendree email address, work phone and office hours online. Blackboard also has a discussion tab where students can communicate with instructors, as well as other students enrolled in the course. Here is an example from Dr. Lisa Mathis’ PSY 304 (Cross Cultural Psychology) course:
Myth: Online classes are not the same as on-campus classes.
Actually, online students follow nearly the same schedule as campus students do. Classes online through Blackboard are taught in 16-week (full semester) or eight-week courses. Students usually take two classes per eight weeks. Sometimes, online students take a full semester class with one course for Spring one, and another course for Spring two. That way, online students are still taking the required amount of credits each semester, just with two eight-week courses along with a 16-week course. Here is an example of the Spring 2017 semester calendar.
Myth: Online education is fit for every student.
“McKendree Online allows those juggling full-time jobs and family commitments to complete the program in a part-time format. Taking one course per eight-week session permits students to take advantage of financial aid opportunities, as well as balance family and work along with their studies,” states Melissa Meeker, Associate Dean of Online Programs. This shows that even if a student has a family or full time career, an education from McKendree can still be received. Personally, attending McKendree Online has created experiences and opportunities that I may have never found.
Online students are also capable of being a part of McKendree’s spirit. For example, I am a social media Ambassador for the Senior Class Gift 2017 and was a social media influencer for last year’s #GivingTuesday. I also was the first student to complete an online internship at the McKendree Writing Center. There are plenty of options for online students to become involved.
With Mckendree Online, ‘impossible’ can be turned into “I’m Possible!” Click here to learn more about McKendree Online Undergraduate and Graduate programs.