Online vs Face to face University Study

Seminar vs. Webinar: Comparing In-Class Instruction to Online Instruction

The Choice

For the first time in the history of education students have the option to choose between in-class instruction and online instruction. Each format of learning has pros and cons. The exciting thing is that almost any person desiring a higher education has the opportunity to find a program that will fit his or her exact needs.

The Traditional Classroom

Of course the format that has existed historically is the method of education that takes place face-to-face in a classroom. Nothing can fully replace in-person instruction. The ability to raise your hand and ask a question in the middle of a live lecture, to stay after class and have a personal conversation with the professor, or to benefit from an active dialogue amongst classmates is extremely difficult to replicate digitally. Perhaps most significant, though, is the accountability that exists with in-class instruction. Especially in smaller seminar courses, a student’s presence is visibly noticed, adding an additional pressure to attend class regularly.

The New Era of Online Education

Though the in-class experience can never be fully replicated online, recent advancements in technology have brought the digital experience many steps closer to the face-to-face experience. With live video-conferencing, chat rooms, and digital bulletin boards where students and professors can instantaneously share documents and presentations, there are fewer and fewer elements separating the digital from the actual classroom. For many students, an online education provides the opportunity to more easily incorporate classes and instruction into a busy lifestyle. This is especially convenient for individuals with children, or for people who are employed full-time.

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Differences in Success Rates

According to a study done by Dawn Wilson and David Allen at Fayetteville State University, the differences in success rates between online education and in-class education vary from student to student. In one test, they found that online students were failing more often than traditional students because of the lack of accountability. However, they reference another study in which students performed better with the online format than the traditional. The inconsistency of these results seems to be a pattern amongst those researching these success rates. More research must be done to determine the influential factors involved.

So, Which do I Choose?

The beauty of living in today’s technological environment is that you have the opportunity to choose which educational format fits best with your current lifestyle. If you have a full-time job that you cannot give up, or a family from which you cannot take time off, then the online format may be perfect for you. However, if you prefer to have the freedom to communicate freely and face-to-face with your professors, the in-class format cannot be replaced.

Studying online has its many advanatges. EIT has a range of qualifications aimed at helping professionals expand their knowledge in key areas. Their specialities are diplomas in mining, electrical and mechanical engineering, oil and gas.

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