Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Online vs Traditional Courses

Traditional and online colleges have the same goal: to offer students an opportunity to earn relevant educational degrees that will put them on fast career tracks. Even though they have a common goal, they do have substantial differences. Given below are a few salient differences between traditional and online courses.

The curriculum

All the course materials, lectures, discussions, assignments, projects, evaluation procedures, and readings of online courses, as the name suggests, are web based. Traditional courses, on the other hand, are paper and print based; they are face-to-face courses, involving physical humans in a specific geographical location.

Just like in traditional settings, online programs do have many students, and several qualified teachers design and teach the programs. However, your interaction with the teachers and fellow students will mostly be online via computer live chats, telephone or email. Unless such a program or course requires regular on-campus visits, you will never actually meet classmates or instructors face-to-face.

An online class is an educational process wherein the instructor and students are not at the same place. In traditional college programs, it is mandatory for every student to be physically present and they listen and take notes during lectures. Traditional colleges make attendance mandatory, and your grade suffers if you miss your class.

Teacher-learner interaction and feedback

Teacher-learner interaction and feedback in online classes is very different from the way it’s done in traditional classrooms. To ensure that all the course materials are delivered clearly in a virtual environment, teachers have to provide not only lucid presentations but also detailed feedback, anticipating and responding to learner queries.

Other key features

Apart from those described above, a few other key features are important to online classes. Voice-supported chats among fellow students and between students and teachers come in the place of traditional face-to-face interaction. You can make use of audio clips provided for virtual practice with your classmates.

It’s easy for you to access a wealth of online links to references and other useful sources. You can play review games for consolidation, and benefit from regular interactive discussion and assignments, focusing on individual modules. Insightful videos provoke your creative and critical thinking skills, leading to independent original work.

Another great feature is the facility for downloading entire presentations and study materials, and uploading assignments, project works and queries. You find throughout the course the use of meaningful graphics and animations.


Online classes are more flexible when compared to their traditional counterparts, making them more popular and convenient for a large number of students. You have the liberty to attend school while working your job; you can therefore take care of everyday obligations such as bills, loans, and family commitments without jeopardizing your course work.

In online programs, you can learn at your own pace by attending classes when you have the time to give. Most traditional college programs do not give you this freedom as they have rigid schedules.

Both traditional and online courses have their own advantages and disadvantages. After analyzing carefully your own specific needs and commitments and the demands of the courses, you can make an informed decision.