Is Online learning or Standard learning better?

Online VS. Standard Learning

How do they measure up?

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We've all been to school at one point in our lives. The squeaking chairs, the scraping of pen or pencil against paper, the musty old books that have been around for generation and the one infinitely cranky staff member are all thoughts that come to mind. Being surrounded by peers, having a variety of teachers and being able to move in between class times was all a significant part of the standard experience. The online experience while similar can feel like a whole new experience.

One of the biggest differences in the way that online learning works is that most of the material is meant to be self taught. Interactions with peers in whatever online forum the school uses for discussions can help to clarify or build on material. However, the discussions themselves are used more as a guidance by professors to make sure you're on the right track. Interactive textbooks are another way the self-teaching method is put in place. Questions and mini-quizzes given in the textbook after each chapter help to keep a student on track with the learning process. Most of the larger assignments given have multiple steps to them in which the process is broken down to make a whole. While feedback is given on where you may need to expand or clarify, ultimately you're left to your own devices on it.

Another way that learning is vastly different in an online learning environment as compared to the standard environment is receiving help. During a physical class environment, there are set hours in which to participate and discuss course material. Questions can be asked on the spot or immediately after class where the teacher is readily accessible. In an online classroom, questions are asked at differing times as there often isn't a set schedule. Due to this, getting answers to questions you may have can be late coming. Often times, if there isn't a general place to ask in the discussion forum, you have to reach out to the teacher generally in an email for answers. This further delays getting an answer or guidance that you may need. Office hours are also skewed as they go off of what time zone the professor is in. If in a varying time zone, the time difference can make it extremely difficult to communicate effectively or efficiently.

There are some pretty hefty similarities in the two learning environments as well. One of the biggest of these is the interaction with peers. Peer interaction is often marked as an important aspect of grading overall in both the standard and online learning environments. While face to face interaction is often a little bit easier since you can hear the tone of the person involved, both do require the same amount of general respect. Using proper etiquette is important in either environment. Also, everyone learns differently and can come to different conclusions about the same source material. Part of engaging is learning to see other perspectives and engage with them without necessarily having to agree with them.

Probably the most notable similarity is the mass of both good and bad teachers. Unfortunately, bad teachers are everywhere including online learning environments. Generally, the bad ones can be weeded out from suggestions by your peers. However, if you do get stuck with a bad one by accident, you can count it as a learning experience of a different kind and maybe even transfer classes to a different teacher. The good professors generally speak for themselves in the knowledge that they share with the class both in discussion forums and through general class announcements.

Either route you choose to go, there will be difficulties. Every person is different, so the likelihood of success greatly depends on that person. If you enjoy the fast paced, self taught method, online learning might be for you. If you learn better in an environment where you can ask questions and get immediate answers, the standard learning environment would be better for you. Either way, you're learning.

Cover Image Credit:

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50 Things to Do When You're Bored and Completely Alone

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For people like me, spring break is a time where you come home and have absolutely nothing to do. You're parents work all day and you're either sibling-less or your siblings have already moved out. Most of your friends are on the semester system, so your breaks don't line up. You're bored and completely alone.

Although while being alone sounds boring, sometimes it's nice to just hang out with yourself. There is a plethora of unique and creative things you can do. Netflix marathon? That's overdone. Doing something productive or worthwhile? You do enough of that in school anyway. Whatever the reason is for you being alone, I have assembled a list of unique things to do to cure your boredom.

SEE ALSO: 50 Things To Do Instead of Finishing Your Homework

  1. Have a solo dance party.
  2. Teach yourself how to do an Australian accent (or any accent for that matter).
  3. Learn how to play harmonica (or any instrument for that matter).
  4. Buy an at home workout DVD.
  5. Bake a cake (and eat the whole thing for yourself).
  6. Take a rollaway chair and ride it down the driveway.
  7. Paint a self-portrait.
  8. Plant some flowers in your backyard.
  9. Become a master at air-guitar.
  10. Perform a concert (just for yourself).
  11. Write a novel.
  12. Become an expert on quantum mechanics.
  13. Give yourself a new hairdo.
  14. Knit a sweater (if you don't know how, learn).
  15. Make a bunch of origami paper cranes and decorate your house with them.
  16. Make homemade popsicles.
  17. Reorganize your entire closet.
  18. Put together a funky new outfit.
  19. Make a short film.
  20. Try to hold a handstand for as long as possible.
  21. Memorize the lyrics to all of your favorite songs.
  22. Create a website.
  23. Go on Club Penguin and troll a bunch of children.
  24. Become your favorite fictional character.
  25. Become your favorite animal.
  26. Practice your autograph for when you become famous.
  27. Create a magical potion.
  28. Learn a few spells.
  29. Learn how to become a Jedi.
  30. Put the TV on mute and overdub it with your own voice.
  31. Make paper hats with old newspapers.
  32. Become a master at jump roping tricks.
  33. Create music playlists based on random things, like colors.
  34. Find a chunk of wood and carve something out of it.
  35. Find something that doesn't have a Wikipedia page and create one for it.
  36. Create a full course meal based on whatever's in your kitchen.
  37. Teach your pet a new trick.
  38. Take a bunch of artsy photographs.
  39. Make a scrapbook.
  40. Learn a bunch of new words and incorporate them into your speech.
  41. Try to draw the most perfect circle without using a compass.
  42. Make your own board game.
  43. Memorize some poetry well enough so you can recite it.
  44. Build a fleet of sailboats and float them in your bathtub/pool.
  45. Write a song.
  46. Practice picking locks.
  47. Make a drum kit out of random household items and play it.
  48. Draw a tattoo on yourself.
  49. Give yourself a new piercing.
  50. Figure out the meaning of life.
Cover Image Credit: Josh

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Things I Miss Now That I'm Home From College Again

There are so many reasons to be glad that the school year is over, but if you've done it right... there are a lot of reasons to miss it too.

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So, school is over now and I've come home. As expected I was so relieved at first. No more showering with flip-flops, no more listening to screaming girls running up and down the hall, and a space that is mine and mine alone. But after a week or so of being back, there are a few things I've already started to miss.

I know that not every single person has the ideal roommate but I got really lucky with mine. Coming home I was excited to have my own space, but now when I'm doing my midnight scrolling, I'm realizing that I miss being able to talk to her about the funny things I see in that very moment. Tagging, DMing, and texting her doesn't feel the same as a long night of giggles spent together.

Also, while seeing old friends when you get home is amazing, and there is always a lot to catch up on, you do start to miss your other friends too. Being in college means that your friends are going through similar things as you are all the time. You have tests together, clubs together, and sometimes you spend way too much time procrastinating together. The bond you begin to form is one you definitely begin to miss - especially when you guys don't live close off of campus.

Coming home also means you don't have a set schedule or at least not immediately. You may come back to a previous job and that puts something on your calendar, but the free time you still have during the week can be a little too much. I know I've spent way too much time obsessing over the Tati/James drama than I ever would have at school. The routine I had at school kept me busy and entertained, and I'm honestly missing it a lot right now.

There are a lot of other things to miss too - even things you thought you wouldn't. You miss the classes, the teachers, and sometimes the food. I know I miss the environment. It isn't a perfect one, but it's full of people just trying to find their way. We are all working through the roller coaster of life and we are all stuck on one beautiful campus together while we figure it all out. I miss meeting new people at the bus stops or running into old classmates and catching up.

I guess the bonus for me is that I just finished sophomore year which means I have more time to spend at school. Come senior year, I guess I'll have to learn quickly how to deal without the things I miss - and also create a schedule so I can travel to see all of my friends, but those are all problems for future me.

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