A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.
By Howard Oh
The great Malcolm X once said, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” One of the new tools in education that is helping students prepare for tomorrow are web courses. These courses take the learning process out of the classroom and into the living room, or wherever the internet-enabled computer is set up in the house. These courses are designed for students with busy schedules; for example, students with demanding work and family responsibilities. At first glance, this sounds like a “blessing in disguise” for many students, but like many things in the world, there are positives and negatives. Many universities around the country have been utilizing web courses as an effective tool for students to learn an interesting curriculum. Hillsborough Community College (HCC), has been using them for the past couple years. Some examples of web courses offered at HCC are Introduction to Computers and Technology, Freshman English I and II, College Algebra, and Early American History. Professor Ashley Blick, a computer instructor at the college, believes that web courses should be kept and the mobility it offers students is a great thing. Blick said that for students to do well in these classes depends on their self-discipline. “Students do not meet as they would in a normal class.” Ben Williams, a student who took Blick’s Capstone web course, loved the experience, and said, “it wasn’t bad at all, I kept up with the online notes and assignments and got an A .” In addition, he expressed much interest in taking more of these courses in the future. For every positive, there is also a negative that counters it, which is the same when it comes to web courses. An important aspect to consider is that these courses place full responsibility of course content on the student since they are delivered to students electronically rather than through lectures. In other words, students are on their own. HCC English professor Diorah Nelson believes that many students need more self-discipline when studying on their own, constantly needing reminders to do their work and oftentimes it proves no use. She reinforced this by saying, “there are far too many distractions in the world, so if they decide to take web courses, they should be aware of the dedication it takes to be successful in one.” An interesting point that Blick made is that while she likes the web courses, the percentage of students who fail her web classes are higher than a lecture class. Blick also said that “it is up to the students to properly manage their time.” Web courses also demand much more out of professors and can be stressful. Blick said that she enjoys teaching the classes, “but it is more work since I have to prepare the entire course load before the semester starts, as compared to working periodically throughout the semester in a lecture class,” she said. Ultimately success or failure in these courses rests on the shoulders of the student and their work ethic, but it is important to consider the facts when making the decision to take web courses, the question is: are they for you?