Gone are the days when knowledge and information as regard specific areas of study are concealed only within the circle of elites and affluent; when skills are passed from one person to another through apprenticeship; and when reading books and going to schools or universities are the only modalities of earning an education or degree. Current rapid information propagation is made possible through technological advancement such as but not limited to computer and internet.
Thus, online classes or lessons are beginning to take acknowledgment and recognition as alternatives to traditional lectures in a classroom setting.
While online classes are indeed considered as breakthrough from the mainstream or conventional teaching style, the questions on its sufficiency as an alternative to the latter including its efficiency when applied to the diverse student personalities are worthy of discussion and analysis.
Thus this paper ventures into describing traditional and online classes, their similarities and distinctions and more importantly their strengths and weaknesses. A conclusion would be provided at the latter part of the paper as an inference in making a stand on the most appropriate, relevant and feasible way of teaching.
A class setting is said to be traditional if it has been the common and prevalent practice in various social context. It is usually equated with terms such as conventional for being commonly used and accepted and mainstreamed as regard the institutionalization in school rules and regulation. The setting is usually within the four walls of the classroom containing chairs and tables for some, arm chairs for others and a combination of both in certain instances.
If not black board (which is actually colored in green), a white board is usually found hanging on the front wall or standing steadfastly right behind the teacher’s table. In
turn, the teacher’s table is facing the chairs and tables where the students sit. If not through actual attendance checking, the teacher would find out the presence of the student through quizzes or graded recitation given regularly or seasonally, the latter being a form of evaluating student’s retention and comprehension at the same time.
Most often than not, the teacher is regarded as having complete authority and to a greater extent, control over class discussion. Whether or not the student will feel pressure to study before coming to class or afraid to come to class unprepared, the sheer presence of the teacher already stands as a compulsion or encouragement to be diligent.
Students enrolled in a traditional class are oftentimes grouped according to age, a setting which provides greater opportunity for social interaction which is crucial particularly for students in their developmental stage. Online Class
A class is considered online if it utilizes information technology and is facilitated by the access to the internet. This is one form of the distant learning education wherein a student and teacher need not meet up in a classroom and conduct the lecture face-to-face. This does not mean however that they cannot see each other for they can either have a video call or chat. Just within the comfort of one’s home, an online class can be conducted. Having a desktop or a laptop, internet, headphones and an online account like Skype or yahoo messenger are all that it takes.
Lesson materials used are usually sent through links or as attachment on an email which can either be a document, picture, audio or video files. Interaction is contained into a sphere which is intangible and most commonly referred to as the virtual reality. The teacher in an online class usually sounds pleasant and amiable ensuring that students are more relaxed or comfortable.
Students enrolled in this type of class usually vary in terms of age level and frequently conduct classes on a personal basis and seldom in a group. Among the common online classes focuses more on language tutorial if not, writing and research-based learning. Comparison of Traditional and Online Classes
In terms of convenience, it is evident that online classes has an advantage over traditional classes which require one to always groom himself or herself before going to school, ride on a school bus or commute through a public utility vehicle and bring along books or other lesson materials. This preparatory activity usually takes time and effort especially for children. Traditional classes however may instil discipline among students as they need to train themselves to sleep early at night and wake up early in the morning. It can likewise help develop a sense of responsibility as a student ensures that all the things she needed for school are kept inside his or her bag.
It can be noted that the distinction between the online and traditional classes can be deduced from the type and number of students it caters. In the traditional classes, students are usually of the same age level ranging from the nursery to Master’s and to some extent PhD. Online classes are however more selective as of the moment for aside from language teaching, working adults, especially parents who are busy both in the household chores, rearing their children and maintaining an employment as their source of income, are the usual students enrolled in this type of class.
Unlike traditional classes which are already very systematic in terms of student evaluation and grading method, online classes may find difficulty in ensuring accurate gauging method to determine improvement in the student’s performance. Retention may be one area for improvement in the case of online teaching for a student having an objective-type of exam like enumeration or identification may find the answer easily via internet. Unless the teacher can monitor the student computer use or activity simultaneously during the lesson period, cheating tendency may not be avoided.
In terms of institutional framework, online classes are considerably on its infancy stage. One can seldom find an online class which is backed up by an acknowledgment by government or non-government agencies. Given for instance that one may get a certificate or diploma after completing the academic requirement of an online course, there is no guarantee that when one finds a
job, the same would be credited in favor of him. Conclusion
The author finds it tenable to conclude that present realities still point out that traditional classes are still preferred over online classes. This is not however an assumption that there is no room for improvement and evolution in the case of the latter. There are universities mostly coming from more technologically advanced countries which are already venturing into transforming class methodologies by using the computer and the internet.
Therefore, as an alternative, online class can still be considered effective and advantageous for selected group of students but is deemed to fall short of sufficiency and efficiency when applied to students early academic training. Based on this premise, the author proposes a merger or combination of online and traditional learning methodologies to enhance a student’s learning experience. A teacher may make use of accessible online materials which can be used in a class to ensure student’s attention. Videos and even presentations animated and enhanced online are good visual aids to open up effective comprehension among students.