By Kayla Rundstrom
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Taking an online class when an in-person version is not available can be an unwanted option for students.
Distance Learning is Camden County College’s online learning program where students can take college courses from the comfort of their home and save money on gas and spend more time with their family and in their job, according to the Online Education section of the school’s website.
Students with busy schedules or who missed the cutoff of an in-person version might be left with online courses as a last option.
“It started out that I signed up for classes late,” said Camden County College student Bridget Cunningham about why she was in an online class. “I was worried about taking an online version of my English class as it was not my first choice. Everything is on you.”
Administrators acknowledge the concerns. “We do understand that Distance Learning courses are not for everybody,” explained Rosalia DeNardo, e-learning specialist for Distance Learning. “You’re not going to have someone there constantly reminding you have a paper due or a test to study for.”
However, Camden County College provides a seminar about online classes called a Webinar, going over the logistics of online education and the demeanor and skills needed for taking up the electronic version of courses that a student may be interested in, said Director of Distance Education Scott Purdy.
“We go through what an online class is and show them how it works and everything,” Purdy said. “It puts them ahead of the game when the class starts. They will already be more comfortable and won’t be lost.”
Distance Learning offers a wide array of courses. “There are 130 subjects available, and they range across all of the academic divisions,” DeNardo said. “Some of the more surprising ones are public speaking, theater, comic book design. We have your traditional gen-eds but we have different classes that you wouldn’t expect to see.”
Cunningham experienced the online course and later felt differently. “I took a hybrid class, which was in person and online, and I realized I would rather just take it all online after experiencing both,” Cunningham said. “But I think I wouldn’t want to take a science or math online. English would be the best.”
Nearly 3 million students are enrolled in fully online degree programs and 6 million are taking at least one online course as part of their degree program, according to the Open Education Database.
Online courses could become more prevalent. “Online courses are growing nationally. It’s a part of the future of education,” Purdy said.