Sometimes it could be very lonely and isolated to study online. Most online or distance learning students are left to their own vices and are forced to struggle on their own. Some drop out at an early stage without anyone noticing or supporting them
CT Online Campus wants to fill this gap and create a virtual campus where students can link, network and interact with one another.
The following article (of Athena Kennedy) lists and explains the benefits of forming a link or bond with other online students.
Building comfortable and sustainable relationships with classmates and instructors in online classes may not seem to be a worthwhile investment at first glance, especially since those with whom we interact online are seemingly distant. However, I encourage you to work toward building relationships, because academic communities and personal connections with classmates and instructors may be some of the most rewarding and fulfilling in your life!
I did this because I always seemed to learn more through the connections I made with classmates than I did by reading books or reviewing content. Additionally, in a graduate-level program, I took several courses with some of the same classmates. By getting to know them early on, I established a “safety network” for myself. If I had to miss a discussion or if I didn’t understand an assignment, rather than revealing my lack of knowledge to the instructor, I could reach out to my safety network of classmates first. The network also allowed for easier collaboration on class projects, and was a safe space to discuss assignment ideas and details. (Athena Kennedy).
Nageswara Rao Posinasetti from the University of Northern Iowa outlines the following ADVANTANGES and DISADVANTAGES of studying online. To counter-act the Disadvantages, online students should network with one another and share experiences (as Lessons Learned).
Advantages of online or computer-based learning:
- Class work can be scheduled around work and family
- Reduces travel time and travel costs for off-campus students
- Students may have the option to select learning materials that meets their level of knowledge and interest
- Students can study anywhere they have access to a computer and Internet connection
- Self-paced learning modules allow students to work at their own pace
- Flexibility to join discussions in the bulletin board threaded discussion areas at any hour, or visit with classmates and instructors remotely in chat rooms
- Instructors and students both report eLearning fosters more interaction among students and instructors than in large lecture courses
- eLearning can accommodate different learning styles and facilitate learning through a variety of activities
- Develops knowledge of the Internet and computers skills that will help learners throughout their lives and careers
- Successfully completing online or computer-based courses builds self-knowledge and self-confidence and encourages students to take responsibility for their learning
- Learners can test out of or skim over materials already mastered and concentrate efforts in mastering areas containing new information and/or skills
Disadvantages of online or computer-based learning:
- Learners with low motivation or bad study habits may fall behind
- Without the routine structures of a traditional class, students may get lost or confused about course activities and deadlines
- Students may feel isolated from the instructor and classmates
- Instructor may not always be available when students are studying or need help
- Slow Internet connections or older computers may make accessing course materials frustrating
- Managing computer files and online learning software can sometimes seem complex for students with beginner-level computer skills
- Hands-on or lab work is difficult to simulate in a virtual classroom
Cape Town Online Campus could add another “disadvantage”: you need expensive resources (e.g. computers; laptops; tablets) with internet and/or wifi-connectivity. Most students on the Cape Flats and rural areas in South Africa cannot afford the monthly internet fees.
*To support online students to complete their studies, we need partners and stakeholders that are willing to “sponsor” or subsidise” online students in South Africa …
To sponsor or subsidise online students in South Africa, please contact us via the “Contact” button/form above.