Brick and Mortar vs. Online Education

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 110
  • Published : February 11, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
The Preparation of a Workforce:
Socialization of Students in Traditional versus Online Learning Environments

Chrystal Herron

EN-102

August 5, 2012

Chrystal Herron

EN-102
5 August 2012

The Preparation of a Workforce:
Socialization of Students in Traditional versus Online Learning Environments

If it were 1998, a student’s options for acquiring a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university typically would be limited to attendance at a traditional brick and mortar institution. This allowed for direct face-to-face interaction with similar like-minded students and faculty. The thought of an option which allowed students to not sit in class was and continues to be controversial. “Online education has become a hot topic recently, with more and more institutions wanting to expand offerings. And that makes studies of the quality of online education important -- and controversial.” (Wojciechowska) The debates weigh in on both pros and cons to online learning. One of the many subtopics of this debate is the lack of social skill development and interactions found in online learning environments. I feel that due to the limited opportunities for face-to-face interactions between an instructor and their students, distance education has brought many new challenges to the teaching and learning process. Wang and Newlin (137-143) point out that little is known about the characteristics of students in distance education courses. As a result, effective curriculum design is hindered by the lack of understanding of the characteristics, attitudes, and needs of the students in these courses (Wang and Newlin, 140). The lack of understanding of the needs of online learning will inevitably impact cognition, but other areas, such as social skill development. I do believe that due to economic issues not issues of physical proximity, this is also a challenge for traditional brick and mortar universities as their revenues decrease and student numbers in specific classrooms increase. “When enrollment numbers swell in courses, students experience less direct individual contact with faculty, and many faculty members perceive that the quality of education declines as they have less interaction with students and a limited ability to engage with individual learning needs.” (Martin, Perkowski, & Taft, 181). It is quite safe to state that the ability to interact with faculty is important to the academic progress of students matriculating at institutions of higher education. We cannot forget that there is a lot more to gain from a college experience than academic enrichment. One will also develop several “soft skills” as well. These student development skills are the training foundation for subsequent professional development upon attainment of their chosen career. According to Dictionary.Com, an online degree is “a college degree earned mainly or completely by taking online courses.” This definition is limited as to the current state of offerings to include academic degrees, certificates and in some states a high school diploma that can be earned primarily or entirely via an Internet-connected computer, instead of physically attending college classes on a traditional campus setting. Online education affords individuals that may have physical or geographical limitations, be in full time work capacities or military service with the opportunity to obtain an accredited education. According to Dictionary.Com, social skills are “the personal skills needed for successful social communication and interaction.” We must note that the importance of these skills is that they impact an individual across their lifespan. The prevailing social skills of one’s immediate environment or community will emulate the greater society’s social rules. It is through repeated experience and exposure that...
tracking img