Online education grows in popularity


M. Borchers, Trojan Matters Editor

With increasing amounts of technology in the world today, it seems logical that the next thing to go in the traditional world as we know it would be school. The number of students enrolling in online schools is growing rapidly around the country.

According to the Online Learning Consotrium, in 2016, the number of students taking online classes rose to 5.8 million students, and 28% of high school students were taking at least one online class.

In 2018, the number of students taking online courses rose to 6.3 million, according to US News. Most of the students taking these courses are undergraduates looking to get a college degree online.

Many students around the country are finding that online school is a better option for them. One argument is that students will be able to sleep in longer. According to the Huffington Post, middle school and high school aged students need more sleep than adults. Because of this, pushing back start times to the students’ choice makes them more willing to learn when they are fully awake.

Another reason people choose to do online schooling is because of exotic or time consuming interests. With the school system now, there is little room for passions or hobbies outside of the traditional system. Also, when students have interests that can take them to a college or professional level, it leaves them more practice time when they are going to school at home. 

Senior Dom Desalvo is taking a college level freshman English class online currently. He said, “I think it is helpful to get out of the way, especially next year when I will have other classes and athletics to deal with.”

Finally, academically students are finding online school to work better for them. The student is able to choose their own pace and can focus without the distraction of other students. For students with behavioral issues, this can be a good option. Also, for introverted students, they have the chance to speak their ideas without the most outspoken students overpowering them. 

While there are many reasons why an online learning community may better suit a student, there are also disadvantages. 

According to North Carolina State Industry Expansion Solutions, there is limited social interaction in online schooling and few opportunities to relate face to face with anyone. This can lead to bad social interactions later in life.

According to science teacher Mrs. Stephanie Tebbe, “There can be benefits for some students who do online schooling; however, I believe students can benefit from interacting with one another and hearing each other’s opinions, not through a message board.”

Another problem is how effective the testing is, according to North Carolina State. Without the teacher in the classroom and without demonstrations to help the students learn hands on, it is difficult to tell if the students are just memorizing information or actually learning.

Another typical problem for students is self-motivation. Without an instructor physically there to keep students on top of their assignments, it becomes easy for the work to pile up.

Students and parents need to work together to come up with an education plan that best suits them. Whether that is through an online learning community or traditional school classroom, there are pros and cons to weigh before deciding.