Are online classes better than face to face classes?

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    Hi, I am interested in getting an associates degree from Miami Dade College in nursing while working 2 part time jobs . Are online nursing classes a good choice? Will it be more difficult than face to face classes? It is more easier?
  2. 8 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    You should assess the appropriateness of an online course for your own learning needs. Online courses are not for everyone. Ask yourself a few questions...

    1. How do I learn best? If a "traditional" lecture is your answer, where you take notes from an instructor and study them for a test, online might not be for you.
    2. How much of the course is online? Some courses meet "live" periodically, and some are entirely online. Some courses use an online classroom, such as Wimba, to do "live" online classes, that are essentially the same as live classes, except you cannot see each other. I teach an online course, and I put up Power Point slides and other documents that form the basis of our discussions, but we cannot see each other. That is kind of nice, as most of these classes are from 7-9pm.
    3. How much peer interaction do I want for my learning? It is not impossible, but meeting your peers can be more difficult in an online course. You don't have that "Hey let's meet for lunch and study before class" kind of socialization. If that is important to you, you need to find a way to do that online.
    4. How much of a self learner are you? Many online course assignments and classes require advanced reading and then you discuss it verb ally online or on an asynchronous discussion board. If you are the kind who doesn't like to read before class and digest it all, and be ready to discuss, you need to find out how your online instruc tor structures the class and what is expected from you.
    5. Is online more convenient for your schedule? And if so, can you overlook any negatives to online learning in order to ahve your learning be convenient? I teach an online masters course, and two of my students told me that online learning was really not for them, but they needed the convenience of it, and they are making it work.
    6. Do I have the right equipment to make the online class work? Computers need to be rather new, or have certain settings on them so that they will accept the software for the course. Also, you will probably need a headphone set with a microphone. Some courses require a webcam.Check with your instructor to see what the specs are.


    Some schools have an online readiness survey for online courses that you can take on your school's website to see if you are ready for it.

    Hope this helps! Good luck to you!
    Moogie and RunningRNBSN like this.
  4. 0
    It all depends on your learning style. Do you learn better by listening, or face-to-face interaction? Then you may not enjoy online programs. If you're self-motivated, and like working at your own pace, go for the online program. Usually they'll have the same material and professors, just in a different setting.

    Since it's your ADN, you're only going to be able to do some of the work online - you'll still have to do clinicals in person.
  5. 1
    I have taken online pre-reqs and face-to-face pre-reqs. I have found that online classes require a high level of self-motivation. Some profs decide to give you much, much more work to make up for the loss of lecture time. For any group projects that may be assigned online, your written communication skills must be top-notch to effectively communicate with your group mates and the instructor.

    The great thing about them is that you aren't tied to a class schedule, which worked well for me. To me, that's the main benefit of them.

    I had HORRIBLE experience with one group project in statistics, mainly due to personality differences between me and one other student, but also because she wanted to fill our paper with $10 words that were obviously used incorrectly and made us look like idiots. I refused to give in, preferring to use more common words that actually made sense, and she didn't like it--resulting in a 1 a.m. over-the-phone verbal altercation the day before it was due. She shut up when we got a perfect score on our paper. I did defer to her judgment on things that she obviously had a solid background in (e.g. statistical calculations).

    I had a fantastic group project experience in on online nutrition class. We submitted our final paper with nearly no communication necessary among group members. Everyone gave their all for their portions, and we ended up with a draft that needed very little editing. We again received a perfect score.

    So, group projects can be difficult or easy, depending on personalities and the dedication to the work. The volume of work may be especially high, depending on your instructor. You must be self-motivated.
    Moogie likes this.
  6. 0
    I think Penguin67 had some excellent points; I would like to add a few personal experiences to this very sound advice.

    Quote from Penguin67
    3. How much peer interaction do I want for my learning? It is not impossible, but meeting your peers can be more difficult in an online course. You don't have that "Hey let's meet for lunch and study before class" kind of socialization. If that is important to you, you need to find a way to do that online.
    Oddly enough, I have found that I am more able to socialize with my peers in online courses than I did when I took courses in a traditional classroom. It might be because my program emphasizes a lot of group work so we are forced to be creative in collaborating since we can't just get together for a study session or to work on a project. I feel a much greater sense of camaraderie and less competition in an online program than I did when taking traditional courses. When I took traditional classes, I was a commuter and didn't have much time to get to know anyone else in my courses but in an online environment, we're all virtual commuters in a sense.

    Quote from Penguin67
    5. Is online more convenient for your schedule? And if so, can you overlook any negatives to online learning in order to ahve your learning be convenient? I teach an online masters course, and two of my students told me that online learning was really not for them, but they needed the convenience of it, and they are making it work.
    I agree that online can be very convenient, particularly if one is working or would have to commute to a campus for class. I currently take one class on-campus and it is not at a time that works well for me. It's an early morning class and, adding in the time that I spend commuting, I need to get up very early to get to class on time. I live in an area in which the winter weather is notoriously bad, so I have had to miss a few classes---which may impact my grade, not because of attendance issues but because I have missed some of the material. I find that very frustrating and I have decided that I will not take any additional classes on campus unless they're during a summer session.

    Quote from Penguin67
    6. Do I have the right equipment to make the online class work? Computers need to be rather new, or have certain settings on them so that they will accept the software for the course. Also, you will probably need a headphone set with a microphone. Some courses require a webcam.Check with your instructor to see what the specs are.
    One issue with some online classes is that some of the software that might be required, such as programs to enable one to add voice to PowerPoint presentations, are not always compatible with Mac. I did not realize that there would be software compatibility issues at the beginning of the semester and ended up buying a new Intel Mac upon which I could run Windows when necessary. I had wanted to upgrade my computer system anyway, but had not counted on the extra expense of buying a new computer plus the software plus some of the other hardware such as headphones with a microphone. I occasionally still have technological issues with one of the websites when I am using the Mac OS, which is one of the major stressors I experience in taking online classes.

    Dudette10 made some excellent points, too, about the nature of group work in online classes. I was very skeptical at first, mostly because I'd had unpleasant experiences with group work in a traditional classroom setting. In an online class, group work is at first very intimidating because it's hard to think outside the box and imagine how you will all collaborate since you most likely can't get together in person. In one of my classes, we have the same group for the entire semester and we've settled into a good pattern; we know we can count on each other and we work together very well. I wish I could remain in this group throughout the entire graduate program! In other classes, our groups are assigned for only part of the semester and there's always some difficulty in the beginning as people get to know each other. There are also the inevitable group dynamics in which someone feels he/she is doing all the work and someone else isn't and there can be ego clashes from time to time. I think a lot depends on the people in the group and how willing everyone is to work together. Sometimes I do feel a little "grouped out" because I have one group in one class, one group in a second class, and two different groups in a third. Trying to balance four different groups in three different classes has definitely challenged my organizational skills!

    I also agree with dudette10 that some professors will give more assigned reading, online tutorials, and discussion groups to make up for the lack of lecture. I think there is a perception among some students that online is actually less work but sometimes it can be a lot more work. It certainly entails a lot more effort but I feel that it is working well for me.
  7. 1
    My own experience reinforced the often expressed observation that online courses are more work. Typically, in a classroom environment, you can sit there and don't have to say anything. You can study for tests and quizzes when and if you want to. Almost all online courses have mandatory weekly discussions that require varying amounts of research and preparation; thus, the comment that they are more work.
    Moogie likes this.
  8. 0
    I do a mix of online and classroom classes. Right now I'm taking a humanities class, to me there is no point in going in for lecture when I can read the info myself and Google the info.

    I'm doing statistics in class because I do not have the brain to figure out math myself, I need to see the instructor doing examples.

    Last semester I did microbiology online, now that was a lot of work. But I did very well since I was dedicated.

    For your first online class take something like American Government or an English class since these are both pretty easy IMHO.

    Def take any science labs on campus, you'll get more out of them.
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    Oh. Yes. One more thing to add:

    If you are taking online classes and need to post something to a discussion board, Wiki, or blog, make sure you first write everything out and SAVE IT as a Word or other document. Sometimes the sites can be a wee bit fussy and you can lose, oh, maybe several hours work because you hit the wrong button and the page reloaded before you could post your comments or your assignment or whatever.

    LEARN FROM MY FAIL!!!!!
    golu and aura_of_laura like this.
  10. 0
    Quote from Moogie
    Oh. Yes. One more thing to add:

    If you are taking online classes and need to post something to a discussion board, Wiki, or blog, make sure you first write everything out and SAVE IT as a Word or other document. Sometimes the sites can be a wee bit fussy and you can lose, oh, maybe several hours work because you hit the wrong button and the page reloaded before you could post your comments or your assignment or whatever.

    LEARN FROM MY FAIL!!!!!
    I can testify to this warning! I had a masterpiece of a response going one time, worthy of a dissertation defense, and lost it all, every typed letter, of every word, of every sentence, of every paragraph, and the deadline was fast approaching. I almost cried. Another reason why you should not wait until the last minute before the deadline. Post early, post often at the beginning of the week before the assignment is due!


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