COLUMN: Online components swindle students
I started college in 2001 then took a long enlisted vacation in Iraq when it became apparent I wasn’t ready to sit still and listen.
Oh, how I took the pre-online learning age for granted.
I’m something of a parsimonious person. Less is often more, I’ve found.
I prefer less clutter and fewer complications whenever possible. For this reason, I hate the fact that almost every class I’ve had at the OU has had some kind of online component. How does this make things easier?
Let’s see. I have a French textbook, a French workbook and a French dictionary for my French class this semester.
I also have an online workbook that I must access to do my homework. What is the point of the online component if not to get more money out of me?
I get charged more for the class itself and for an additional online “access code” that I must buy with my books. There is nothing in the online component that couldn’t just be in the physical workbook I already bought.
I have two classes this semester with course packets I bought at King Kopy for about $15 each. Both classes also have texts that I purchased. Why, then, do both classes have a handful of readings on D2L?
Would it not fit in the course packet? I think so — I’ve had some pretty massive course packets before. What’s an additional 15 or 20 pages in a 200-page packet?
It is starting to feel like I’m being taken advantage of when I am being charged an additional $40 per credit hour for the class to have a completely unnecessary online component.
Not all of us are here on our parent’s dime. (That isn’t a shot at people who are, I’m just stating a fact.) Many of us are here on scholarships or on military benefits. We can’t all afford a MacBook or a Sony Vaio.
So what happens when my ancient laptop loses the network connection every five minutes and won’t let me take the online quiz for my astronomy class? I’m at the mercy of the janky computers over at the library.
How does limiting the places a person can do their homework make things easier?
It’s not that I’m against online classes. I completely understand some people have to work 40 hours a week to feed mouths and provide a roof for those mouths. Getting a degree through an institution that offers online courses is a wonderful opportunity and definitely benefits many people.
I also understand the idea of the “dropbox.” Honestly, what a time saver for everyone. We don’t have to print, and the professors don’t have to carry around 60 pounds of graded papers all the time.
I’m not opposed to the online solutions, and there are several. The “libraries” tab in D2L is another great idea.
My complaint is the way that online content is forced into many curriculums that don’t need it at all, and the fact that we actually pay more for it.
Why do I need two workbooks in French? Why do I need to shuffle from my course packet to D2L and back? Why can’t I take a quiz in class, where I can raise my hand if I don’t understand the question?
Not to mention the fact that high online quiz scores don’t reflect anything other than the availability of Google search.
Maybe some disagree, but I’m here to tell you — it was really nice when I only had to remember one password and had all of the course material in one place.
Trent Cason is literature and cultural studies senior.