4 Areas Traditional Classrooms Still Have an Advantage in over Online Classes

Online classes have come quite a long way since they first began: there's a wider breadth of courses available, top-notch instructors are eagerly taking the helm, costs continue to drop, and the digital tools available make it easier than ever before to get a degree. But that doesn't quite mean online classes have run away with the gold prize just yet, as there are still a few areas where traditional classrooms still hold the trump card.

Contact with Professors and Students

There's no doubt that sitting in a lecture hall and learning from a professor in the flesh has its advantages. If you have a question, all you have to do is raise your hand or turn to the student beside you. And if you're the shy type who hates attention drawn to them in class, there are always office hours where you can visit your professor one-on-one.

But Online Classes Can Do This Instead

One of the unfortunate truths about higher education is highly-skilled, fully-qualified professors are being replaced by PhD students for cost reasons. So, the on-campus lecture you're attending may not be taught by someone who's a veritable expert in their field. They also tend to have busier schedules because they need to take on more classes (they don't get paid as much per class as full professors), but you tend to get full professors in your online classes. And while you can't actually visit them face to face, you can drop them an email, ensuring that when they reply, it's at a time when they're fully able to and not feeling rushed.

Technological Requirements

It's never easy to plan a course for on-campus students and then show up every week to teach it, but it sure is a lot simpler. The professor has the choice between using the chalkboard, overhead slides or printed handouts, all of which are quite straightforward to produce. The cost is also a lot less, ranging anywhere from free for the chalkboard, to pennies per printed sheet.

But Online Classes Can Do This Instead

While the initial cost of getting materials up online may be more than for traditional classrooms, it's a one-off. Once the materials get made available, they're there for posterity and very easily recycled. Plus, it's a lot harder for digital learning materials to "disintegrate", which is more than possible with organic materials like paper and chalkboards.

There's a Set Routine Everyone's Aware Of

Even before classes start in a traditional classroom, students know the lecture and tutorial times, and can plan ahead. Unless the professor suddenly decides to cancel a class, you know exactly where you'll be every day of the week for the entire semester of year. There are no surprises, and this dependability can offer a lot of comfort and ease in planning the future.

But Online Classes Can Do This Instead

The biggest disadvantage of such structure is that you revolve around the classes, not the other way around. If you need to stay late at work or take your kids to the doctor, tough luck on you if it clashes with class time. With online classes, however, that just doesn't happen. You study entirely at your own pace and let your life's requirements take center stage, not the other way around. So when something sudden pops up – and it will – you never have to worry about making a choice that could compromise the grades you worked so hard for.

The Prestige of a Brand Name School

An introductory course in, say, psychology or economics will look fairly standard across the nation, but the big difference is being able to say you took it from one of the country's top schools. This looks impressive on your resume, and gives you instant cache when it comes to applying to grad school and jobs.

But Online Classes Can Do This Instead

It's all well and fine to attend an Ivy League institution, but unless you live close to one, moving there is going to incur a whole lot of expenses. This isn't an investment every student can undertake, as staying put in your own home city is almost always a cheaper option than starting fresh in a new state. But where online classrooms have an edge is you don't actually have to pack up and move thousands of miles, and can study at the best institutions from your own living room. Plus, with the freedom and flexibility offered by online learning, you can study at more than one amazing school and add even more cache to your resume.

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