The online classroom

Education has definitely changed with the introduction to online classrooms. There are plenty of people who used to think, and some still do, that an online degree is not worth as much as one that you get after studying on campus. I know a few people who still believe that my online degree is not the same degree that students on campus get. They think that the online classes are easier and that’s one reason why it’s not worth as much. The ones who don’t think that way are usually more motivating and encouraging. It has become quite frustrating attempting to explain to others that my online education is just as good as what students get in person on campus. The degree will be the same. I’m not sure why some try to argue this even today, but it is definitely frustrating and annoying.

Online education is just as important, valid, and useful. In my opinion, it requires more discipline when you have a lot of other responsibilites that you need to pay attention to at the same time. Some of us have full-time jobs, families (kids, parents, grandparents) that we are taking care of, while also at the same time going to school full-time. With all of that combined, you can forget about getting your eight or nine hours of sleep every night. Personally, I’m lucky to get six hours of sleep. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. All of the things mentioned above can also prevent you from sitting down and really think about what you have read and what you’d like to write for your assignments. Some content requires you to take a moment and think about it or research it even further.

The problem there is that there isn’t much time to do that and really enjoy what you are reading. I wish that there was time for me to enjoy and thoroughly research every single reading assignment (learning more about it, etc.), but there just isn’t much time. I’m sure that there is a lot going on for student’s on campus as well, where they don’t get much sleep either, but while they are on campus they are just responsible for themselves. They might have jobs while studying, too but they don’t have family members to take care of at the same time. This might not apply to all, but I think it applies to the majority.

The stereotype threat is the anxiety that students feel when they are faced with expectations consistent with stereotypes about their group (Schneider, 2012). The fear that they would confirm a stereotype in the eyes of others has been shown to affect someone’s academic motivation, self-concept, and academic performance (Schneider, 2012). I think that the stereotype threat can be applied to online education because of the fact that some people believe that online students are “less-than” and expect them to not be or not count as much as students on campus. Then some online students might be afraid of confirming this stereotype and that fear can get in the way of their academic performance and motivation. My motivation, academic performance, and self-concept have been affected a little bit in the beginning when I was told that my online education wasn’t “real”. It does produce anxiety and you have to fight to get that motivation back in order to break the stereotype threat.



Schneider, F. W. (2012). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: SAGE Pub.

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  1. It was very comforting reading your post, as I have often felt alone in my frustration with many of the things you mentioned. For starters, having to justify my online education. With such advanced technology, I am always impressed with how information is just as accessible to me as to any other student. I believe that people are quick to assume that the same level of accountability is missing but it is clearly not. With video conferencing, I am able to meet with a group for projects just the same. A truthfully, I am impressed that a group that spans up to 4 time zones can still pull a project together, but the technology exists so it is possible to make these things happen.

    I, too, share the same regret of not being able to fully engage in some of my classes, I would love to be an expert at every single one of them but I have to be proud of just getting through them sometimes.

    As a community of online learners, I think we have a unique and exciting responsibility to prove to the world that the way we received our education does not negate the work put into it. If anything, we are highly strategic time managers with the same intelligence and critical thinking skills as anyone. Not only can we get the job done but we can do it while juggling a million other responsibilities. It takes grit and we got it.

  2. I’ve encountered some of the same issues as you throughout my time spent as an online college student. Many people feel that an online class just doesn’t have the same validity as an in-person class. Of course none of us would be taking this course if we believed as such. In fact I believe there is more work to be done for online classes. I’ve been on both ends as a student on campus and online and I find that online classes require a significant amount of reading, but perhaps this is to make up for the time that is not spend in a classroom setting.
    While I think you bring up a good point about stereotype threat, I think online students also face the problem of self-handicapping. In the readings we learned that students will act in such a manner that undermines their performance (Schneider, 2012). Specifically, online students face the threat of believe some of what they hear in that either online classes are too easy or they’re too hard, causing them to react in such a manner to undermine themselves. The specific idea I have in my head is a student who doesn’t do well on a test because they feel there is too much reading for online classes and when they don’t do so well on their exam, they can point to that as being the reason instead of focusing the blame on themselves.

    Schneider, F. W. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems, 2nd Edition. [MBS Direct]. Retrieved from

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