The Corner

Politics & Policy

Students Unhappy with Their Online College Courses

Just as substitute teachers usually weren’t very good, so we’re finding that substitute educational delivery modes aren’t very good. So argues Megan Zogby in today’s Martin Center article.

Younger faculty members tend to be more comfortable with the online technology; older ones are making the adjustment more slowly. A bigger problem is the lack of access to hands-on experiences.

Zogby writes, “For some students, the loss of in-person lab time and learning has dramatically harmed their education.The interactive labs seem more like video games, said Paige Barrett, a junior at NC State studying life sciences. Her online lab portal cost her $50 to access, and it ‘looked like it was made by a second-grader,’ she said.”

Students in art and design courses are getting badly short-changed.

“When NC State switched to online classes for the fall,” writes Zogby, “Leah Hauser, a junior in the Art and Design program, lost access to studio space, the textiles spinning lab, laser cutters, and wood shops. That made it difficult for her to become a better artist and learn design skills. Yet Hauser still pays full tuition.”

And for anatomy students, there’s no good substitute for actual skeletons.

It’s not the case that university leaders are doing nothing to try to improve matters, though. At NC State, they have come up with an app to help students form learning communities and contact their advisors and faculty.

Zogby suggests that college leaders listen more to what students are saying.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.