Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Online Classes : To Overthink or to Not Overthink, That is the Question

Despite the fact that I have been the Facilitator for the Archives Management Cohort Online for almost a year and a half now, I personally have never taken a class online.  I have taken face-to-face classes for almost 20 years, but had my first online class experience happened last Monday when my Management class was held online for Columbus Day. 

We had a fairly “traditional” online class, which required several hours sitting in front of the computer reading through articles, and then watching powerpoints, reading lectures, and participating in discussion activities – a fairly typical week in the life of an online class. 

I cannot speak for the other students, but I for one quite enjoyed the structure of the online class.  It was laid back and didn’t require an hour’s travel to and from school (if you live around the Boston area, you’re familiar with the “reliability” of the green line…), but it was difficult to motivate myself.  While we normally have classes on Monday afternoons, I found myself starting the readings on Monday evenings, and eventually posting my discussion on the Saturday after we would have normally had class – almost a week late! 

In addition to the structure, it was really cool to read everyone’s opinions.  I for one am much more comfortable with reading opinions and responding to them – to make sure I say precisely what I mean to say – and is significantly easier than speaking in class.  It was also very interesting to read everyone’s opinions. 

Emily Boyd, a fellow blogger, and I were talking about the structure of the online class, and one downfall of the online class that we both felt was that it’s difficult to convey meaning in an online format.  This is something I personally struggle with, especially in writing emails – my email may be concise and informative, but is it coming off as harsh and uncompromising?  If I make it too flowery by overemphasizing my respect for the other person’s opinion, does my own response get lost?  I can imagine that this issue will become less of a problem in a more practiced and regularly-meeting online classes. 

Overall, I am interested in the concept of the online class, especially one that convenes regularly.  It’s a refreshing change of pace from standard face-to-face classes, and one that I will definitely consider pursuing!