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Readers Respond: What is the Biggest Challenge Online Students Face?

Responses: 8

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Online students share unique struggles. What do you see as the biggest challenge online students face?

Too Much Work

I think the [greatest] challenge for an online student is that he or she is given too much material to study as though he or she has plenty of time. I would say if the online student has plenty of time he would go to the traditional classes. But, he turns to the online courses because he has no time to study all that materials in that tight time.
—Guest Munir Almuraisy

Need Extra Help for Quality Work

Students have trouble following a rubric. Many times they need additional explanations regarding the expectations of the Professor.
—Guest Dr. Curtis Baxter

Procrastinating Peers

I am the typical go getter that prefers to get things done early. I have a class right now where no one blogs until the last minute and that does not meet requirements and hurts my grade. This has been my biggest challenge thus far.
—Guest Go getter

Organization

For me the biggest challenge was to organize myself. The beginning all of my classes and studies online was a mess, because it was the first time I was taking courses online. But, with a little bit of patience and a little help from my university, I could get accustomed to this method.
—Guest Belén

Barred by a Cottage Industry Approach

As Terry Hilsberg pointed out during the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications (WCET) conference, “Most U.S. institutions do not have an institution-wide strategic approach to distance learning. Individual faculty members are practicing their craft with online tools, but there is little change in what they offering students.” Basically, the cottage industry approach happens when a single faculty member uses his traditional methods in offering an online course. The faculty constructs and formulates the whole course matter – designing the course, creating the materials needed, supervising the class and assessing the students. Such traditional approach may be appropriate for the conventional learning format where physical space is not an issue. However, online learning might demand an approach that’s more innovative and engaging.
—Guest Edward Davis

Unresponsive Administration / Professors

I have had very mixed results at several institutions with online programs. I do not feel these schools even commit the resources to servicing this student population. I have often felt like a number and many times, my requests, questions, etc. were completely ignored. I have thrown my hands up and am desperate to find a decent online program. I would say, avoid large brick and mortar institutions with online programs, I think may have jumped on the bandwagon yet have absolutely no idea how to administer these programs.
—Guest Jim

Figuring Out the Technical Aspect

With multimedia learning, there's a lot of technical stuff to figure out. I often have a hard time finding all the components of my courses or participating in real-time conferences.
—Guest Patience C.

Staying Motivated

While I love online learning, it's much easier for me to stay on top of my work when I know I'm going to see the professor face-to-face.
—Guest Mr. Jon

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