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Education Rants

Online Coursework Sucks*

In which I moan about online coursework.

I have a love/hate relationship with online coursework, especially college. I love it because it frees up time that could otherwise be wrapped up in potentially boring classroom lecturing, travel or administrivia. Additionally, it allows you to digitally access resources without having to fumble with paper and other physical assets. On the other hand; For many classes, teachers put the minium effort into them. Not that this can’t happen in a physical setting, but at least there they have to dress up and show up. Also, you don’t get any personal interaction with anyone. The other classmates posting in discussion boards may as well be bots; Faceless names with randomly generated text.

All of these are the reasons that I primarily pick courses around my physical availability. If I’m paying premium for education, I want my ass in a physical location being taught be an actual human being who has to at least show up. However, things are changing with education that are pushing some colleges to look at being more online.

COVID Online Coursework

COVID-19. The big ugly mess of late 2019 and most of 2020 so far. As far as schools go, it has thrown pretty much all of them into a tizzy. My son’s school system had to basically throw together a whole online education system wrapped around Microsoft Teams (angst aside, they’re doing pretty well with that, I have to say). For my college courses, I had to end this semester with online coursework, which sucks. It gets out of sight and out of mind quickly. I feel less involved and the course work just feels like a chore.

I know some colleges offer only online courses. I actually “attended” Phoenix University for a semester. While the work was easy enough, I was getting exactly nothing out of it. Most classes just required you check in by posting something to the discussion board. I feel like we’re moving the needle in that direction with all this distance learning being spun up.

The push to move more online also feels like a cop out in a system already looking for more ways to water down the experience for the most money. Colleges are rife with adjuncts who could care less about teaching, so long as they get some side work. Course materials are skyrocketing and classrooms are left with second-hand tech that is run by overworked IT people just trying to keep their Rube-Goldberg machine running until the end of the semester.

Look: I like college. For a lot of people it’s a great avenue to get the knowledge to work in any number of fields. However, I don’t find that I’m getting a lot out of it. I learn by doing. Going online is just going to make the rest of this Bachelor’s degree a slog.

*: For me.

By Nathan

Nathan is a technologist and Open Source enthusiast living and working in Florida. Often, he can be found playing board games with his family, video games by himself or breaking technological things in order to fix them "better".