The students of the Community College of Baltimore County are getting into the groove of the first month of the fall semester. They’re playing the balancing game between studying, making money, and having a personal life.
No matter the time of the year, each student has to go through the difficult process of trying to figure out the best way to work academia into their busy lives. While registering for classes they must comb through their schedules to find the times and days which they can put aside in order to make it to campus.
Too often students have trouble making their schedule work, fortunately there are a number of brilliant online courses offered each semester at CCBC of which students may take advantage.
Anne Roberts, a professor at CCBC, is teaching Women’s Studies and Native American Literature courses online this semester. When asked what kind of student she would recommend take an online course, she said, “a motivated, organized student, and one who knows the beauty of asking for help when she or he needs it. One who likes to study or enjoys the work and is able to self-motivate and hit deadlines. There’s a reliability about an online class that makes that sort of student thrive.”
Students are looking for an outlet that will allow them a quality education and freedom in their schedule.
CCBC’s website offers the ‘Flexible Registration’ system in which students can use any computer to find the courses they need on their own time. The location of online courses are listed in reference to where that professor’s office is located, while the room number is cleverly shown to be ‘WWW’ as it will be taking place on the world wide web.
Enrolling in an online course offers many advantages such as allowing the student to set their own schedule, being able to practice computer skills daily, and most importantly the student doesn’t have to be on campus. This alone could save a student a substantial amount of money if they were originally planning to drive back and forth from school or pay for public transportation.
Stephen Reyes, a student at CCBC who took an online British Literature course said, “I like online classes a lot because there is no chance that you will miss class. They are fun and interactive like in-person classes because the instructor includes a discussion board and makes that part of the curriculum.”
However, Reyes did state a warning about a class he took without a discussion board and says, “I didn’t like it as much. So, I would recommend that you email the instructor beforehand and make sure the course will have peer discussions. Otherwise, I feel you do miss out on learning from classmates.”
Often the professor wants their students to discuss a topic by posting a ‘thread’ and replying to one or two other students who have posted something as well. If a student is able to complete this each week then they will be on their way to accumulating the points they need for a good grade.
For students who are painfully shy in the classroom the discussion board aspect of an online course can help them learn to make connections with others. Sometimes it’s hard to share an opinion in a classroom setting but online discussions ensures that everyone has an opportunity to share what they’re thinking.
Joyce Lathrop-Davis, a professor at CCBC, teaches a number of science courses both online and in the classroom. She completed her second master’s degree entirely online, which is very impressive, and believes that a strict routine is the key to success in an online course. She said, “Students who realize that learning is really up to them and who are disciplined enough to study several times per week generally do well. The biggest challenge of online classes is making sure that you schedule sufficient time to complete assignments.”
Much like a course held in a classroom, it’s helpful for students to map out their study time and due dates on a calendar. Professors often upload a list of dates and assignments at the beginning of the course on Blackboard, that way students can easily plug study time into the schedule they need to work around.
As long as a student has the resources to complete schoolwork off campus and they set aside important time to study, they can enroll in online courses at CCBC and reap the many rewards of distance learning.