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Online vs In Class Courses

Which is Better?

By Amethyst ChampagnePublished 2 years ago 5 min read
Online vs In Class Courses
Photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash


Online courses or in-class schooling? Which one is better? That has been a question buzzing around whenever higher learning is discussed anymore.

Until recent years, if we wanted to attend college, we were forced to get in our cars or on the bus, travel to school, sit in classes, and spend much of our day there.

However, online colleges and courses have been picking up greater traction for their customizable schedules and not needing to drive all over the place, which for some people would be appealing. But is that the better option?

Pros and Cons

Advantages to online courses

More flexible for students who work full-time jobs:

Many students attending college are either returning to school or cannot spend long hours at school because of their jobs.

Online courses tend to go at your own pace to a certain degree. So you can watch video lectures during a break or when you're in bed.

Ability to complete assignments when convenient:

As many students have busy lives, it can be hard to complete assignments on time.

Many online assignments allow you to complete them and turn them in on your schedule, which is a relief for those who have busy schedules.

Ability to obtain degrees from an out-of-state school without moving:

In many cases, students have to attend certain schools if they wish to obtain a certain degree, often forcing students to move out of state. And that can become pricey quickly.

With online classes, you can get the education from that school without incurring the expenses of having to move.

Less travel to and from school:

Depending on how far you live from campus, travel takes up time. However, online schooling requires no travel, which saves gas and money.

Disadvantages to online courses

Less direct contact with other students and teachers:

A lot of what makes in-person learning effective is the ability to communicate directly with your classmates and instructors.

Although some schools have communication for their students online, you don't get the social interaction you would have face to face.

Limited opportunities for student and campus activities:

As much as people try to have virtual events, you just can't get the same social interactions online as you can in person.

Subject to technical difficulties and software crashes:

While we all love our computers, they are not immune from having issues. They can become glitchy, go through spontaneous updates, crash unexpectedly, or even become infected with a virus somehow

And that can prevent you from watching a lecture or turning in an assignment on time. Or worse, it can wipe your computer of everything, forcing you to start from the beginning.

Advantages to traditional schooling

Direct contact with other students, teachers, and advisors:

In-person classes allow you to talk with classmates and instructors more easily if you have a question about an assignment.

Greater access to campus activities:

One aspect of the college experience is being able to participate in certain school activities, such as games or dances, even cookouts sometimes.

And many of these social gatherings allow students to blow off some steam and make new friends along the way.

More suitable for hands on training:

Many courses, especially ones relating to science, engineering, culinary, and the performing arts are better taught in a class.

For one thing, you can work with the equipment for your course on site. You also get hands-on assistance from either other students or instructors, which only improves your learning.

Disadvantages to traditional schooling

Less flexible class schedule:

Unfortunately, in person courses can't go by your person schedule, so you have to accommodate and sometimes compromise on certain things.

Less cost effective:

Generally, going to on-site classes is more expensive between travel, books, supplies, and the fact you're going to a physical campus makes everything cost more.

More travel to and from class:

Dealing with the travel between school, home, and work eats up valuable time which could be spent studying and learning.


Studies have shown that students who submitted homework online earned 6% higher grades than other students.

Absents were also higher with students who did their work online by at least two absences, although it did not appear have much of an impact on final exam performances, which were about the same on both sides.

Online work completion was shown most in younger students (22 or younger), but unlike older students (23 or older) who did the same work online, the younger students did not miss more class when allowed to turn in their homework online.

The ability to submit assignments online also appears to have differential effects on first years compared to seniors.

For example, first-year students in the online group completed 1.5% more assignments online than those in the traditional homework group, but there was no difference among seniors.

Interestingly enough, men who did assignments online showed greater completion than their counterparts, unlike women, where the rate was about the same.

One study showed that course perception was not affected by the delivery of the class (online or traditional).

However, the opportunities for students taking online classes to cheat was up to four times more likely than in a physical classroom for lack of monitoring.


Not much research has been done and more will need to be done, like on the different ways of teaching online and traditional classes and expanding on the fields of each classes.

Another research topic might be the relationship between retention and graduation rates for in-class and online courses. Wouldn't that be interesting.

Either way, larger sample sizes will be needed.


So, which is the better option? From what the research has shown thus far, there isn’t a better option. Each has its pros and cons.

For one, it seems that online can be used as a complement to more traditional learning, but with a higher chance of cheating. And although going to school gives you one on one interactions, it is pricier.

But like anything else, college learning is tailored to the individual and some people benefit more one style and others learn better from another.

Thanks for the read! I hope you enjoyed my revamped assignment.


About the Creator

Amethyst Champagne

I create anything from fiction to personal stories, poetry, and more. I'm also on Substack, Ko-fi, and Gumroad!

My Twitter(X) handle is @AmethystC99.

Visit my website if you need help editing your fantastic story!

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