i Why is traditional education in small class settings better than online education? | COLLEGE WRITING: DEBATE(S) IN HIGHER EDCUATION

Nevena Prebiracevic

Education is important for so many reasons, especially higher education. College education gives us more opportunities for seeking desirable jobs, expends our knowledge in so many ways, helps us become more independent individuals, etc. Like any other system, the educational system goes through changes and adaptations. Online learning is one of the changes that attracted attention of many people. Even though it was introduced many years ago, it hasn’t been used as a primary way of teaching/learning. For the last few years that started to change, because reputable universities and professors have begun to implement and promote this kind of education. Online education sound interesting indeed, primarily because it gives chance for gaining higher education to those who can not afford traditional education. But what will happen to education in general if online learning replaces traditional?

I believe that traditional education in small class settings is better that online education. Let me present few reasons for thinking that way.

Traditional college education is more effective than online education because it helps students develop interpersonal skills through human interaction and live discussions. It’s true, online learning also provides forum discussions, but they are not guided by professor, and usually very confusing and hard to follow. Political science professor Jonathan Marks shared the same opinion in his blog post, while writing about his own online learning experience: “Being in a discussion forum was like visiting a loud, very crowded public place, in which you could pick up snippets of conversation… That’s a tough place to get your bearings in…are immense…and there is no teacher in the room”. Traditional small classroom environments are more intimate, which gives professor opportunity to be creative and flexible in order to involve every student in discussion. For personal and professional development live socialization and discussions are essential because it helps us develop interpersonal skills. Without interpersonal skills we can’t be very successful in the most of working environments.

Having professor in class who can give right guidelines is very helpful. Students usually take classes that are interested in, and would like to learn more about specific subject. In order to do so, professors that have good teaching style will provide guidelines to help and motivate students to learn and memorize all important facts and skills, just like my fellow student Solomon wrote: “They can see when you’re struggling and when you may need a little extra help and they can do that and that’s something that you can’t do in an online institution”. From time to time we all struggle with learning, and having someone, right there when we need them, with great professional experience and knowledge in specific subject is priceless.

It’s true, online education gives you opportunity to learn at your own pace, but real business world, most of the time, doesn’t work that way. Working under the pressure can be hard, but almost all work projects have a very short dead-lines. So, traditional education is definitely better choice for those who still haven’t developed time management skills. For some people is very hard to self motivate and need more discipline to get work done. Being on campus, and experiencing college life through everyday interaction with other student and professors, can give great motivation to do homework, and study for exams. Political science professor Jonathan Marks stated that any educational system should help student to learn how to give their best : “discover and bring to completion their best mature selves”. Traditional education in small class settings, with various everyday activities and assignments, teaches students to be responsible, to respect time, to be more organized and to develop time management skills. Finally, it helps them “grow up” and be more prepared for everyday personal and professional challenges.

And last but not least, students that decide to enroll in traditional college education will, most probably, choose college that is not in their hometown, or state or even country. And that will give them great opportunity to travel, explore world and learn about different cultures first hand, not only through World Wide Web. All this combined, has much better chance than online learning, to transform any young adult, to extraordinary, independent, open minded, well tout individual, ready to live outside of bubble.

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