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The Blue & Gray Press | October 23, 2017

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UMW should offer more online classes to give students flexibility

UMW should offer more online classes to give students flexibility

By TAYLOR OSTROM

Senior Writer

Life as a college student is all about creating the perfect schedule to avoid unnecessary stress. In my experience, I have found online classes are a great option when trying to create a flexible schedule. However, after transferring to the University of Mary Washington last year, I was sad to learn that the university has a limited amount of classes offered online. In correspondence with Rita Dunston, university registrar, she said, “No more than 5 percent of online classes are offered during the academic year.”

This percentage was alarming to me because not only am I a college student but I am a mother as well. Online classes are extremely beneficial to me when trying to make enough time for both my daughter and class work. They’re not only beneficial to me but other Mary Washington students too.

Senior communications major Olivia Breler said, “In my major, there aren’t enough classes offered, given the number of students in the major, so getting into the right classes is competitive… More online classes could change all that.”

One solution was given by senior sociology major, Michael Phipps who said, “I prefer lecture classes that are instrumental when preparing for my career. However, when it comes to electives, online classes give me much needed freedom.

The chair of the Distance and Blended Learning Committee, Dr. Andrew Marshall said, “Basically, courses are proposed by individual instructors… Many factors are considered when deciding to create and propose an online course, including student needs, pedagogical best practices for the field, instructor interest, background, and resources.”

“As a single parent,” continued Phipps, “online classes allow me to allocate more time to parenting and less time to commuting. I would like to see the more hybrid classes, get the best of both lecture and online.” Hybrid classes are a combination of online learning and face-to-face learning. They still meet in person, but much less than traditional classes while also giving students a chance to work from home. If students are having trouble with any online work they can discuss it when the class meets in person, giving professors the chance to thoroughly explain course material.

If UMW offered more hybrid classes, then perhaps students would have an easier time when creating a class schedule each semester. For those who don’t do so well with online classes, hybrid classes may be a better option since they are not completely online based. If more online classes can not be made available during the academic year, hopefully hybrid classes will become something UMW offers students in the future.

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