Online University
10 Students 10 Questions 10 Answers

Doesn’t the lack of live student-faculty interaction during class detract from the overall learning experience?

  • Angelina Casarez Angelina Casarez

    I don’t think the lack of live interaction between teachers and students affects my learning very much. I am able to watch lectures on video, so of course I don’t verbally participate in class. But we have a discussion forum that was created specifically for us to post our questions and concerns, so that need was foreseen and the school provided a solution. And if I am especially lost, I can always e-mail the professor directly for clarification.

  • Tanya Faison Tanya Faison

    Yes, the lack of live student-faculty interaction hinders my ability to learn. In fact, a big drawback to having class online is that it is not in real time. Prior to my online experience, I went to a local junior college and I appreciated being physical present in class because I was able to get answers right away. In an online class, I have to wait on the answer.

    I had different experiences with the faculty at each of my online institutions. At Kaplan, we had live chats with the teacher once a week and we could hear the teacher speaking. In that learning environment, I felt like my teachers were more engaged with me.

    Now that I am working strictly within a forum classroom at Walden University, it is hard to tell if my teachers care about me. Still, even though it doesn’t compare to a traditional institution, they try to simulate interactivity. For instance, we have to participate in discussion and respond to our classmates’ discussion posts by the fifth day of the week. It doesn’t feel like enough interaction, although professors try to keep the students engaged in their coursework by reminding us about deadlines and other important notices.

  • Jody Galis Jody Galis

    The lack of live student-faculty interaction is not an issue for me, because we do have live interaction options at American Intercontinental University. For instance, my digital design program incorporates a desk-sharing option, which means that the teacher can see your work and help you in real time. The desk-sharing sessions usually last for an hour, so we get one-on-one instruction from our teachers, just like in a physical classroom.

    Even when we don’t have live access to our teachers, they are never too far out of contact. They check their e-mails all the time, and they hold specific office hours for us to call or instant message them. I think that this amount of communication is somewhat unique to American Intercontinental University, because I found it difficult to communicate with people at Kaplan University. In fact, they forced me to withdraw from school after I got my associates degree because I couldn’t attend classes since I was very ill with cancer. When you are that sick, you can´t attend to anything, and I would have appreciated more understanding from that school.

  • Krystal Gransbury Krystal Gransbury

    I don’t think that a lack of live interaction with my faculty affects my learning in a negative way. I don’t care for the one-on-one style of learning because I would rather do my work independently at the pace that I like. That is why online school works for me, because if you tell me how to do something, I will just do it.

    When I do have questions for my teacher, I use a feature called an individual forum, which is more like a chat room where the only person that you are able to talk to is your teacher. I could call them on the phone too, if the matter was urgent.

    Even though I don’t have trouble learning in the online format, I have noticed that many of the other students in my classes want to be able to interact more with the teacher. And it is true that you don’t get the sense that your professors are personally interested in your success or in helping you to achieve your dreams. If you need that emotional and academic support from a professor, this is not a good program for you.

  • Susan Griffin Susan Griffin

    I can see where prospective online students might be concerned about the lack of student-faculty interaction in an online classroom, especially if they come from a traditional brick-and mortar-educational background. But because I did my associates degree online as well, I don’t think there are any drawbacks to the lack of interaction with teachers. I have only had positive experiences with online schooling. I believe the key to succeeding in the online environment is to maintain constant and clear communication with your professors through e-mail so that if problems do arise, they can be resolved quickly.

  • Alleisha Heard Alleisha Heard

    No, I don’t find that a lack of live student-faculty interaction hurts my education at all. Personally, I am much more comfortable with this kind of learning format. I would even say that I like it so much that I can’t think of any drawbacks. If you are not a self-directed visual learner, online school might not be the best idea for you. But for me, it is perfect.

  • Brandon Johnston Brandon Johnston

    I have to say yes and no. In my experience, the education I have gotten online is not as robust as if I was in a classroom because learning is self-paced and highly individualized. You read the books by yourself and then you teach yourself about the subjects as opposed to somebody teaching you about it with concrete examples and vibrant discussions. The responsibility to learn falls on you, which is good because it gives you lot of freedom, but you can’t benefit from forming a relationship with a teacher and learning through their experience.

    I do have some interaction with my instructors but it is indirect. I primarily interact with my professors using the discussion forums. However, if I ever have an additional question or need additional information, most of my professors provide contact information. Also, there is a public space to ask professors questions on the web portal. In general, professors will respond to me with 24 to 48 hours.

    Although I am not able to get to know my professors on a personal basis, most of them seem to care about their students. For example, some professors are lenient with deadlines if a student needs extra time on an assignment, as long as the student gives them ample notice. However, there are certain professors who treat teaching strictly as a job.

  • Nancy Lockett Nancy Lockett

    No, I don’t think the lack of live interaction hinders my learning. Despite the online environment, my relationships with my professors are good. In fact, a facilitator even saw my potential and asked to become my mentor. I appreciated that, especially since I am a young entrepreneur. I think it is invaluable to have an experienced mentor to help guide my future career.

    Even though class isn’t live, teachers do encourage participation in order to cultivate a positive learning environment. That means participation factors heavily into our grades. We are required to participate for a certain amount of time each week and to actively involve ourselves in the class discussions.

  • Cynthia Palmer Cynthia Palmer

    I don’t think the lack of live interaction with teachers detracts from my learning experience because I am more of a visual learner than an audio one. I can absorb information a lot better by reading than I can by listening. For example, I try to stay engaged in a lecture by taking notes, but when I am writing, I feel like I am missing what the professor says next. I end up missing information. That doesn’t happen when I read because I can go at my own pace.

    But I do think the lack of face to face contact with my professors is a negative aspect of online school. Occasionally I find myself in a situation where I need help right away, but all I can do is e-mail my teachers. That means I am forced to wait until my professor responds to my query, which can take 24 hours. The turnaround time for responses can hold me up and then I don’t get my work in on time.

    I would advise online students not to wait to ask for help, because if they do, they will quickly get behind. If a student has a question, they should immediately attempt to get in touch with their teacher so that they won’t miss a deadline if they have to wait a full day for an answer.

  • Justin Pettyjohn Justin Pettyjohn

    I don’t think that a lack of live in-class interaction has much of an effect on my learning, although I could see where people might like to have more face-to-face time with their teachers. Personally, the only drawback that I see in the lack of physical interaction with a teacher is that it can make communication a little more confusing. For example, you can’t sense tone, or even non-verbal clues like facial expression or hand gestures, through a computer screen.

    In some ways, it feels like online education actually benefits my learning process. I have always felt more comfortable studying online. It allows me to relax because I can create my own learning environment. That allows me to concentrate better. And from a wider perspective, I think people need to get used to the idea that most of their learning will not occur in a classroom with a teacher walking them through every step. They will need to find a way to stay engaged when they inevitably have to learn new skills on their own, such as on the job.

    Finally, people who are considering online school should know that their teachers will still expect them to perform to a high standard. I can give you an example. Once, I missed the point of an assignment and the work that I turned in was sub-par. My teacher did not let that slide. He actually called me up on the weekend to tell me that I needed to redo the assignment since it wasn’t up to the level of work that he expected. I was both amazed and impressed. That experience let me know that my teachers were watching and they did care.