Pros and Cons of Online Learning


Advantages to Taking an Online Art History Course . . . .

You can do it in your pajamas! 
Taking courses online makes it possible to study anywhere, anytime – you don’t even have to get dressed to go out!

The World at your fingertips!  Art history was made for the internet!  With the vast resources available on the web, art history is uniquely suited to online delivery.  While it was once necessary to travel great distances to see the art treasures of the world, it is now possible to visit museum collections and historical sites online, or read articles by experts in the field – all with just the click of a mouse!

The Virtual Community
For some people, online courses offer more opportunity for community than traditional classes, because they are more comfortable expressing themselves via email and Discussion Forums, rather than speaking up in class.

Room for Discussion
For students who like class discussion, the traditional classroom can be a frustratingly restrictive environment.  Class discussions are often cut short by the sound of the bell, so not everyone has a chance to participate.  In an online course, students can engage more freely and fully in discussion, allowing for a richer and more stimulating intellectual experience.


Disadvantages to Taking an Online Art History Course . . . .

You are your own Teacher 
Online courses are not for everyone.  They require a high degree of self-motivation and independent learning skills.  Students enrolled in a traditional class have the advantage of an instructor who can explain complex ideas in a manner that can be easily understood.  But online students must be their own teachers — sorting, interpreting, and synthesizing information for themselves.  This may be too much of a challenge for some students, for whom a traditional class might be a better choice.

You must be self-motivated
In an online course, nobody is there to take attendance, remind you to sit up straight, or scold you for falling asleep in class!  In other words, nobody is there to play the part of mommy to keep you focused and attentive.  Instead, the online student must be highly self-motivated and self-disciplined, able to take it upon themselves to complete assignments on time, and progress through the course according to schedule.  Sticking to schedules and routines is hard for us all, and some of us need more structure than others.  Students committing to an online course should think seriously about whether they can sustain the commitment necessary for successful completion of the course.

There is Nobody to Hang out with
Taking an online course can be a lonely experience, quite different from the communal environment of a traditional classroom.  While chat rooms and bulletin boards provide opportunities for forming a virtual community, some students find the electronic version of social interaction a poor substitute for the real thing.  Students who find the excitement of meeting up with friends at school an important motivator for college success should consider whether the isolated study structure of an online course is right for them.

Young woman using laptop

This online course is a writing intensive course.  Students with difficulties writing or who need remedial assistance should consider switching into one of the traditional classroom sections, where course assignments are designed to help develop writing skills.


Technical Problems
I will not be able to help you with technical problems (although I will do what I can)!  My area is art history, not computers!  All questions concerning software, hardware, or Blackboard features and functions should be directed to the experts in the Online Learning office.

Blackboard Shutdowns
The Blackboard server has been known to shut down at inopportune moments.  This is not an excuse to stop working on course assignments!  You should have a printed copy of the Course Schedule so that you know exactly what is required each week, and you will still be able to read your textbook and access online WordPress lectures, even if Blackboard is inaccessible.  In cases of prolonged Blackboard shutdowns, I will communicate with you via email about alternate plans.

Is Online Learning Right for You?
Read this article to determine if it is the best choice for you: