Online Courses: To Take, Or Not to Take; That Is the Question.


The information presented in this chart can be found on the Valencia Institutional Research website. Over the years, student enrollment in online courses at Valencia College has increased, despite the slight overall student population decrease.

Brittany Tucker, Contributing Writer

Online classes are convenient and easily accessible, a seemingly perfect combination for busy college students with multiple commitments.

Valencia College offers nearly every subject online, ranging from College Algebra to Astronomy to Screenwriting. Furthermore, online students have access to the same resources as students who attend class on-campus made available via the student’s Atlas account. There are tutorials online for students who may need assistance navigating the online Blackboard system.

Valencia College Institutional Research shows student enrollment in online courses at the college is increasing. During the 2014-2015 academic school year, 32,026 students were enrolled in at least one online course. During the 2015-2016 academic school year, 34,622 students were enrolled in at least one online course. This school year, 35,509 students have enrolled in at least one online course. This increase is proof that online courses attract students.

Karen Styles, Professor of Humanities at Valencia College East Campus agreed, “An online course teaches students organizational and time-management skills. This is true of face-to-face courses as well. It’s different because in the classroom, students can be more passive because the instructor is always there to remind them about what is due. But with online instruction, students need to be more active in searching out deadlines and due dates on their own.”

Online courses also allow students to work on their own time. Alyssa Castro, a Valencia student taking an online course, said, “I think it’s more beneficial schedule-wise. You have your own schedule and don’t have to do everything at a specific time.”

Some believe online courses will be easier than face-to-face courses. This is not the case. Online courses provide the same instruction and require the same amount of work as do face-to-face courses, yet oftentimes prove to be even more of a struggle for some students.

Not every student is equipped to succeed in online courses, and there is certainly no handholding. Professor Styles said, “Students need to be organized, driven, and responsible to succeed. You cannot be passive; you have to be an active learner.”

Kristen Lebron, an online student at Valencia, said, “The challenge I walk myself into is getting into the habit of waiting until the last minute to do things. I have to get myself motivated to read the material whereas in a classroom environment I’m actually writing notes and dedicating an hour of my time to be there. With online classes, you have to be self-organized and self-taught in a sense since you don’t have someone right there to answer your questions.”

The online modality may be an attractive and convenient one, but it may not be beneficial for every student.