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Courses: Online or Face-to-Face? Students, Professors Debate

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Kayley Nagle

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With the increase in academic technology, Bucks has given students the opportunity to take online courses, which allow people to complete their credits through an online site, instead of taking face-to-face classes on campus.
Both sources of learning provide students with a substantial college education, but offer quite different experiences that hold both positive and negative aspects.
Face-to-face classes, which are the traditional college setup, allow for an interactive learning experience, giving students the chance to communicate and socialize with their peers while also being able to interact with their professors.
Psychology professor Wilma Starr agrees, stating “There is a sense of ‘community’ when you are in a classroom of other students. Before the instructor comes in, students talk about the class and if they understood what happened last class period. I hope my students make new friends out of their classmates. It’s that regular contact that is a part of the ‘college experience’ which I think is what makes college special.”
“I love teaching face-to-face classes because I enjoy getting to know my students and interacting with them. I can intervene if I think a student is struggling. The best part of teaching is teaching. I feel more of a ‘grader’ than a teacher when I used to teach an online course.” Starr continued.
Students also seem to benefit from this original style of learning, “Interacting with teachers and classmates helps me to keep my focus. I enjoy being able to ask questions when necessary and get an instant response” Nursing major Kaylee Miller, 19 from Morrisville, explained.
Exercise Science major Toni Andress, 18, from Fairless Hills thrives in a face-to-face environment, “I benefit more with face-to-face learning because I am a visual and auditory learner.” She feels she needs to hear the professors voice and physically see what is being taught to progress academically.
This traditional process does have its downsides though, since face-to-face classes are on a specific, organized schedule, this causes a stress inducing environment for students who are juggling several responsibilities.
Online education allows these students to learn on a more flexible schedule. “Online classes can give you the freedom to pursue your education while giving you the peace of mind that if work gets hectic or your days become busy with something else, you aren’t bound to a certain day, place, and time for classes.” Said Marisa Krause, 23, a Liberal Arts major from Doylestown.
Krause also explains that online learning gives she and other students the ability to be in full control of their education. “The students become a key component to their success and mastery of the subject. You may get slideshows and discussion boards to help with your subjects, but with online classes you are in control of what you learn.”
Communication and Theatre Arts professor Michelle Pentimall feels that teaching an online course helps to breakdown obstacles that may be present in a face-to-face environment. “The benefits for teaching an online class would be the same for the professors as the students and mostly involves flexibility. It is particularly useful for keeping the course on track during inclement weather since the work is done from any location.”
Though these different styles of learning gain what the other may lack, she believes they ultimately balance each other out. “We strive to make the experience the same” Pentimall explains.
These separate options of academia are molded to fit to individual needs, but both result in personal success.
Bucks allows students to thrive academically in their own way. Whether it is through an interactive environment or a flexible online system, the college gives students the opportunity to succeed academically to ensure a promising future.

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The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College
Courses: Online or Face-to-Face? Students, Professors Debate