Online courses are not what I thought they would be — in fact, they are much much better. I am thoroughly impressed by how interactive the whole experience is. Classes are in real time — everyone in class meets at the same time and interacts through a great program. The program has so much great features: chat box, skype-like-talking, powerpoint presentations, video, file sharing, web applications, laughing buttons, confused buttons, raise-your-hand buttons, and soo much more.
I remember when I first started looking at distance learning programs… I read a journal article that strongly urged finding a program that did real-time class (like FSU’s program) instead of pre-recorded, do-it-in-your-own-time class sessions because this difference is one of the biggest factors in the quality of learning experience. I thought about it, but eventually blew off this suggestion because I was more focused on curriculum. Good thing I ended up with one of those extra good programs in spite of myself.
I hardly feel disconnected at all when I’m in class. We’re all on our own little computers at the same time, talking and joking and learning … This online experience has just far exceeded all of my expectations. This program is certainly not “dumbed down” because of its online status — it’s wonderfully rigorous. I can certainly see why this online experience is a legitimate way to learn. It wouldn’t work for every subject, but it certainly works for mine! I would, of course of course!, much rather have a face-to-face program…but, after having been to a couple of classes, I am almost mollified.
FSU has a three-semester schedule, and I had planned to take 3 classes a semester and get it done in four semesters. But, I felt so gung-ho with this program that I’ve now switched that around: 4 classes each for 3 semesters. I haven’t let my academic counselor know yet…I don’t think she would approve of the pace, so I’m going to wait until I have proof that I can handle that load.
Whew…to graduate in December! This is going to kick my butt. But I’m finally studying what I want to study 🙂 And I am soo relieved that the classes are “real” and not a push-these-online-suckers-through-so-we-can-get-more-tuition-money kind of program. FSU’s online program motto is: “Online” does not mean “on your own,” and I certainly have had a good impression so far.
Wish me luck. Hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew.