Don't get me wrong, I'm an advocate for online classes, but I've found a real issue with them that I just can't shake.
Sure, they cost extra money -- sure, they can sometimes be during your holiday -- sure, you never really meet the professor. All that can be explained away, but do you know what the real problem is?
Students don't need to put in half the effort they normally do.
For example, on UConn's Winter Session website, they state that a three-credit course taken over the course of three weeks requires a dedication of 52 hours per week. If that sounds like a lot, that's because it is. A normal American work week only extends to 40 hours per week, which means you are expected to study for more than 9 hours a day if you want weekends to yourself (by the way, there are usually exams and assignments due on the weekends). With all this being said, I'm not incredibly ashamed to say that I've only really dedicated about 15 hours a week to my winter course I'm currently taking, and what's my grade thus far in the final week? And I'll just preface this with the fact that I'm really not that clever, nor do I get grades like this most of the time. 98.3%. The reality of the situation is that Winter Courses are simply far easier to complete, and they are that way for a reason.
In Online Winter Courses, you're expected to complete your assignments and studies on your own without missing deadlines and having any sort of real supervision -- because of this, University Faculty feel the need to make it easier. In addition, because students are not taking exams in a supervised classroom, there is always the temptation to cheat on their exams, and that's the truth. There are, of course, programs that allow a proctor to watch a students' progress on the exam and ensure they don't cheat, but when I took a summer course that utilized that program, the exam was open notes anyways. Without that check and balance, the only way to really test a student's knowledge is through written exams, yet multiple choice is far easier to grade, therefore that is the route that most teachers take.
Online Winter Courses are a bit of a joke -- you pay an exorbitant amount of money, you get the credits you need, you bolster your GPA, and you find an excuse to tell your parents about why you're on your computer for the entire break other than saying you're binge-watching Netflix and scrolling through Reddit or Facebook.
Am I wrong?
Now, this isn't to say "don't take an online winter course." They're still a great tool to take advantage of in your time at college and can allow you to get some of the easier prerequisite classes out of the way. Just try to do your best and actually learn something, and those three weeks will actually be worth something rather than just another thing to do in your free time.