Simulated classroom learning

By Robert Klimper |Staff Writer|

Faculty and students discuss the challenges and advantages of online courses in the light of students’ demands and quality factors. 

Though online courses offer a more flexible schedule, it is not unheard of for students to feel a somewhat of a disconnect to the instructor of the courses as they can just be a wall of text with no face to face interaction.

“I probably won’t take another [online course]…I would rather be able to speak to the teacher myself,” said Joscelyne Baisa, a freshman at CSUSB taking her first online course this quarter.

CSUSB offers opportunities for professors and students to hold a simulated classroom environment with screen sharing and video feed.

Another way professors can interact with their students is through offering hybrid courses, partially face to face classes and times when the class is online.

“The [class] that was half online and half in class I felt like I got more out of it, because I was able to go to the class and talk about what I read online”, said Westley Bovee, a senior at CSUSB who has taken a hybrid course.

Bovee still found use out of the online courses he took, yet for one of them, he felt like the course was a bit more involved and could see that the professor put a lot of work into making the class.

“If it is done well, an online course can connect you in very interesting ways to you students,” said Dr. Mihaela Popescu, communication professor and faculty associate with Academic Technologies & Innovation (ATI).

Dr. Popescu sees a purpose in online courses and tries to work around the issue of the disconnect that can come from online only courses.

She tries to achieve this through allowing the students themselves to introduce each other through outlets like video or audio so that other students feel a sense of connection.

On her end, Dr. Popescu finds that giving quick feedback is important as no feedback leaves the student on their own.

“Generally speaking, I have more of a sense that every student has gotten my desired learning objectives in an online class than a face to face, because I actually see them going through [the material]”, said Dr. Montgomery Van Wart, the recipient of the Quality Matters Certification for his online course, Human Resource Management in the Public Sector.

Dr. Wart, despite preferring classes where he can lecture face to face with the students, finds that online courses have their own merit and tries to constantly improve upon them as often as he can.

As he was awarded the QM certification, he believes that striving for a QM and getting help from the ATI on campus can help make each online course available a better and more involved experience overall.

Though professors can achieve a more involved online classroom, students still seem to enjoy in-person classes and are able to better enjoy the course they are participating in.

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