Method Test Prep has extensive online resources that students receive when they sign up for tutoring or for a class. A lot of students view the online resources as secondary, but students who embrace it find there is a plethora of information at their disposal.
Last May, I taught an SAT class and I incorporated Method Test Prep’s online program into the course. I explained to the students that I wouldn’t be able to truly know how much of it they were doing, but if they wanted a nice score then tackling the online program wouldn’t be a bad idea. It offered questions with explanations, both written and audio, detailed lessons on SAT topics, and full length SATs. Some of the students used it; some did not. Those that did use it saw a big difference. How do I know?
Three months after the class finished, I received an email from a student telling me she was still using the online program a couple of times a week because she was preparing to take the SAT yet another time. She had a few general questions for me, but also wanted to let me know how helpful the online course was. I was very happy to hear it, but I wasn’t surprised that she was getting results from the program.
Online education has exploded in the last few years. About two years ago I took an online fiction writing workshop. I was somewhat hesitant because writing, especially fiction writing, is such a difficult topic to cover and the online format might not be the best format to explore it.
To my relief, I ended up being wrong. Because the course was online, the teacher could do line by line edits of our pieces in Microsoft Word, link us to short stories he thought we could learn from, and he would type up 5,000 word lessons each week. I came out of the course feeling I got a lot more out of it than I expected.
Outlets such as Coursera offer classes in almost every possible area from accounting to English literature. The company has partnered with some universities in order to offer better classes. Even more noteworthy? The classes are free.
So is online education the future of education? Not entirely, but it will definitely be a part of it. Nothing can top the in person classroom experience, at least not for me. A certain energy comes out when you’re in a room with a bunch of people who want to learn (and, if the teacher is adept, the energy ends up coming out even if the students initially don’t want to learn). But online classes offer their own benefits. For those who have awkward schedules they can be quite helpful. For those who are unsure of how interested they are in a topic an online course is a great way to test the waters.
There are some critics who say that online courses are simply not up to par and that the teachers are simply phoning it in. This is definitely true of some classes. But it’s also true of some in person classes, sadly. One never knows how a class will go be it in a classroom or online. However, automatically thinking an online class will be useless is to close yourself off to some really interesting options.
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