Online Courses versus Face to Face Courses: A Critical Review
Educational methods of instruction and learning have evolved significantly with time. Face to face courses are old like the hills. Presently, there are online courses or a mixture of both courses (Mason and Rennie 2). Internet is to online courses as classroom is face to face courses analogy best describes them. Students have the flexibility to choose what they prefer most depending on factors such as cost, convenience and unpredictable weather conditions. It is worth noting that some students prefer to fuse online and traditional courses. However, there are myriad questions and answers for both online and face to face courses. This paper compares and contrasts face to face courses with online courses.
Online courses are proving to be less expensive than traditional face to face courses. Learners undertaking online courses seem to save a lot of money unlike their counterparts in face to face to face courses (Mason and Rennie 9). In face to face courses, learners spend a lot of money on travels to various colleges and universities, food, accommodation and reading materials such as books. On the contrary, online learners study at home hence minimizing the cost incurred from travels, food, accommodation or books. Face to face courses may also be expensive to institutions. The institutions are compelled to set up facilities to cater for needs of all students (Mason and Rennie 15). On the contrary, institutions administering online courses do not need facilities as students learn while away from them. On the other hand, institutions may lack funds to employ skilled personnel to institute online learning. However, online courses are proving to be less costly than traditional face to face courses.
Online courses are more convenient than traditional face to face courses. One can come up with a flexible schedule of study unlike in face to face courses. In online courses, one can learn at his or her pace which is the direct opposite in face to face courses (Mason and Rennie 5). Therefore, a person taking online courses can balance between work and study. On the contrary, one who is taking face to face courses has to stick to a fixed and strict schedule which can clash with work time (Mason and Rennie 22). However, face to face courses have an advantage over online courses in terms of convenience in access learning materials in the library. In online courses, one is as free as a bird to study at any time he or she feels more productive which is vice versa in face to face courses. However, online courses need discipline, good time management skills and commitment to study unlike face to face courses where there is always pressure from instructors to learn.
Adverse weather conditions can greatly affect learning. In face to face courses, adverse weather changes like rainfall or snow fall can make classes or lectures to be postponed. Some colleges even close due to their damages (Mason and Rennie 18). This wastes a lot of productive time in terms of learning or work. On the contrary, an online learner can work from home or anywhere despite the weather. He or she does not suffer the effects of closing college or cancelling of some classes. Effects of weather are not only limited to face to face course. They may also hamper online learning. For example, there are some instances where weather hampers with electricity supply or internet connections (Mason and Rennie 25). Fortunately, this rarely occurs at all times.
In conclusion, there are numerous merits and demerits for both online and face to face courses. Both courses are not as pure as snow. Online courses have brought a pragmatic change in learning with its own advantages and disadvantages (Mason and Rennie 50). In spite of their short falls, face to face and online courses provide a chance to read and learn. Although face to face courses proves to provide more human interaction that enhances effective learning than online courses, online courses are keen to produce an autonomous individual keen to balance study and other activities like work (Mason and Rennie 36).
Mason, Robin, and Rennie, Frank. E-Learning: The Key Concepts. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.