Students graduating this spring were instructed to take not one but two online courses, with the expectation that many would receive at least an associate’s degree, then transfer to a four-year institution. Meanwhile, scores of parents pulled their children out of four-year universities, leaving them with a C+’s in the math and science subjects they had once thought of as their own.
Why Do International Students Hate Online Learning?
By Benjamin Knox
Recently, I completed an online course (for my master’s degree in journalism) with a collaborative online course with a group of other journalists. We attended lecture and tutored each other, also taking out essays and creating a media profile page, for our use and for others to read. They also urged us to research what a newspaper bio was and the types of stories we should write. We developed a survey to gauge our students’ understanding of the topics.
My initial perceptions were that the online course would be as good or even better than a campus-based course. I did not realize how much our peers from Mexico, Guatemala, and other countries would be interested and excited to listen to lectures and become part of our discussion group, watching us discuss them in Spanish. I was very thankful that more than two-thirds of our students are international.
When my friend Chris asked me why they were interested in his students’ online course, I admitted that I knew nothing about them because I’m from the United States.
He was surprised. He wondered if my students were interesting or helpful. I told him that I felt as if they would be, but I was uncertain of how much they were really involved in their studies.
Chris asked the tough questions about whether my classmates were learning what he was teaching.
While my friends and I did care about our online students’ learning and encouraged them to participate, we did not really have much idea of what they were learning because we studied very little of the content.
How can educators make online learning more engaging?
Although we were mainly studying the content and interactivity, my classmates and I occasionally tested ourselves with the questions Chris asked. A full e-book of course content is expected from any reputable university, but even English classes are printed in paper and a tutor might have a conversation with students during class.
My relationship with my classmates was a catalyst for further studies, such as journalism, and a way to continue learning when school gets out at the end of the semester.
My colleagues and I were often amazed by the different questions they wanted to pose, for example, “Why do you not like online learning?”
If it were up to them, they would have been studying the content and creating quizzes and quizzes.
We all asked a variety of questions, such as “How do you find your work?” “What do you feel the most comfortable doing?” and “Do you feel there are any restrictions for technology?”
It’s true that online learning has some inherent barriers that students might not like.
In order to thrive, online learning must provide numerous ways to interact with classmates and engage in stimulating discussion. For example, through a social media platform, students could share their work with others.
When I was still at college, my professor suggested I read books over the weekend to do some studying during the week. At the time, my timing was good as I could go to libraries at night and have a print copy of the books I wanted.
For other students, they may not be able to do this because they don’t have access to libraries during the school day. Or, if they live in a rural community, they may have trouble commuting to a library where there’s not enough time for them to study.
Throughout my master’s degree, which is teaching journalism at USC, I have given myself a lot of leeway in online course registration. This has been helpful, but I often still get caught up with course material.
In fact, I often think of what I want to do when I get home, so it’s hard for me to focus. Online learning has had a real impact on my life.
I am able to plan for the future with the free time I spend on my laptop.
It’s true that online learning has some inherent barriers that students might not like. However, if universities provide a means for students to interact with each other or a free streaming video platform, they will be able to seek out meaningful learning on their own terms.