Online Courses Cheating Education

Lyndsie Yamrus, Assistant Opinion Editor

The things we’ve accomplished and the advancements we’ve made as a human population is astonishing. The world is a much different place now than it was a decade ago, which in the grand scheme of things, is not a very long time.
One of our most valued creations of all time, the ever-popular internet, has completely changed the way we live our lives, and very quickly at that. I remember like it was yesterday how long it would take for a single page to load on the internet, and here I am today, multitasking Facebook, Twitter, Email, Google and various other tabs, all at once and within seconds.
I really appreciate the internet, and yes, it is an extremely revolutionary tool that has improved the world we live in immensely. However, we have become rather obsessed and increasingly dependent upon it — enough to believe that nearly anything can be obtained online. A thorough and valuable educational experience is not one of them.
As we all know, there are many advantages to the online route. It is much cheaper than going to college. You can learn at your own pace. You can work at your own speed. You can take the class virtually anywhere and adjust your work to fit your lifestyle. You can eat a steak in your pajamas while you take a test, which are always “take-home”. You can easily Google something you don’t know.
Does anyone remember what life was like before the internet readily spit out knowledge when you asked it to? I certainly do not. I grew up in the middle of this explosion we now call the digital age. Prior to the internet, you had to actually use the library. You had to do research! Which involves actually reading the books. What a concept. I’m a firm believer in reading books for information. Books are classic. I’m “that guy” that walks out of the library with a stack of 8 books dating back to the seventies and older. People think I’m nuts. But you learn more because you have to read the book instead of skimming over google hits and using CTRL+F to find keywords pertaining to your paper topic. The internet cheats education.
My belief is that there is a definite level of respect associated with traditional classroom-style learning. The process has generally remained unchanged for many years: an individual who has attained extensive knowledge and experience in a given field passes that knowledge and experience to others.
If you don’t understand something, you can raise your hand, ask any question for clarification or further direction, and receive an answer almost as quickly as you asked.
You have others next to you to motivate you and support you. There are people to impress and people who could potentially make an impression on your life, or vice versa. You don’t just learn subject matter when listen to and work with others.  You develop as an individual because you collaborate with different people who see things from different perspectives.
Interaction between individuals is highly necessary and adds an entirely new dimension to learning. You can talk the material out, face-to-face, with someone who knows what they’re talking about. The self-teaching, Google-everything-you-don’t-know-or-understand method will leave gaps in your education. You’ll miss things.
You really only learn the course material when you study for courses online. The knowledge you acquire is mostly limited to what is written in the required textbook — knowledge that probably won’t change your attitude or opinion or the way you think in general. Typed dialogue loses the emotion and passion of the lecture as well. Your professor doesn’t truly know you because all they can see is a name on a computer screen.
Professors stimulate creative thinking and application in a way that would not be as effective if taught online. They often add personal stories, insights and ideas that encourage students to have new insights and build new ideas.  A lecture should inspire, and people are the ones who do this. Not textbooks, and certainly not a search engine either.