Pros and Cons of Online Classes

When students register for classes at the beginning of their college education, many are faced with the question, “Should I take any online classes?” To some, this is an immediate yes or no reply, but others may not know or understand the pros and cons of online classes. Online courses generally consist of uploaded lectures from the instructor, written assignments that are submitted online, and the availability for quizzes and exams to be administered through an Internet connection. A strong Internet connection is vital to successfully completing an online course.

Pros

  • Flexibility & freedom

Students are given flexibility and freedom in terms of when and where they complete the requirements for the class. Students can complete the course in the comfort of their home, even while sitting on the couch in their pajamas!

  • Learn at your own pace

Students are able to learn at their own pace. This is an advantage because it allows the student to re-watch lectures and progressively work on assignments.

  • Save time and money from travel expenses

Students will save time and money associated with traveling to on-campus classes.

  • Use of technology

Students will learn new forms of technology. Technology skills are extremely marketable when applying for jobs.

Cons

  • Time management

Students must have good time management skills to succeed.

  • Technology Failures

Technology is not always reliable, so students should be cautious of procrastination. For example, Internet and electricity may be down for some reason in the area, not allowing the student to submit assignments on time. Also, students need to be aware that computers may crash, leaving them with no way to complete the assignments.

  • No face-to-face interaction

Online classes do not allow room for face-to-face interaction with other students or the instructor. However, some instructors offer office hours for one-on-one sessions if necessary. Also, unless a chat room is enabled for the course, there is generally a delayed response when communicating with the instructor, especially if the student and instructor have different schedules.

To sum it up, there are a variety of pros and cons when comparing online classes to traditional on-campus classes. It is important for students to know their learning styles and time management capabilities before committing to taking online courses. To some, online courses could bring relief to their heavy course load, but they could be a heavy burden to those who are technology illiterate and those who lack time management skills.

By Katie Shaffer, Business Major – IUPUC

Pros and Cons of PowerPoint

The ways in which we are able to communicate our message to others has changed drastically over time from writing letters to typing emails and then to sending text messages. The same thing can be said about the way we present information to others, whether it would be simply to introduce people to something new, inform others on a certain topic or persuade others to take a course of action. From the simple projectors that used knobs and transparent sheets to computers, Microsoft PowerPoint is the common visual presentation tool that almost everyone uses today for speeches, meetings and many other purposes. When presenting with one, it can help you out in the long run, or maybe hurt your presentation at the same time depending on how effectively you use it.

When it comes to PowerPoint, it is a great visual aid to use in presentations, so use it to your advantage! One benefit it has is that it can grab the attention of your audience, which not only brings interest to your presentation but also can take the pressure off yourself when you are speaking. Use it to illustrate your points such as using graphs and charts to back-up your statistics, or by using pictures to enhance your slides (or to distract in some cases). Another great value to using PowerPoint is that it helps adapt your message to people who learn in different ways. For example, there might be someone who learns better by listening while somebody else learns well visually. Believe it or not, you are actually using two channels to communicate your message this way. An interesting benefit of PowerPoint is that it can help nonnative speakers’ presentations be more understandable to an audience that has a hard time trying to pick up on the dialect of the speaker.

However, just because PowerPoint is a great tool does not mean it has its downsides as well. First of all, you do not want to take all the attention away from yourself otherwise your PowerPoint is being used more like a distraction than it should be such as adding music to your presentation. Unless you are trying to entertain, do not do this in a professional presentation. Also make sure you have a backup plan on how you are going to present because sometimes events such as blackouts may not create the most favorable conditions. Plus you don’t want to be too attached to technology for you techno people out there (Fact: The accident of the Columbia space shuttle mission was partially due to vague information used in PowerPoint instead of technical reports.). This is also self-explanatory, but do not put information in your presentation that may hurt others; otherwise, your audience may get the wrong impression about you. Last but not least, using bullet-points in your slides are great for summarizing what you are about to say, but do not use them too much in your presentation because it tends to be repetitive and in some cases too short.

These are just some of the pros and cons for this useful program. Hopefully, this will help you all reading this to become better presenters in the future.

I would like to give credit to the Web site “media.baruch.cuny.edu” for the information on some of the pros and cons of PowerPoint used in this post.

http://media.baruch.cuny.edu/faculty/jbelland/powerpoint/tips.htm

Written by Derek Huffman, Business Major at IUPUC