By Bianca Chan
Reynosa Sarmiento has taken multiple courses throughout her undergraduate degree. Having graduated in November 2015, she’s had years of experience with online courses and online summer courses.
The psychology major offers some insight into the benefits and challenges of taking online courses during the summer, and answers popular questions that potential online summer school students may have.
In an edited email, Reynosa recounts some of her experiences with online school.
Q: Why did you decide to take an online course during the summer?
A: I decided to take online course because it is convenient. I can watch my lecture wherever and whenever I want to. I can still travel and bring my classes with me. I do not need to come to school all the time.
Q: How did you find it compared to an online course during the regular school year?
A: I do not see much difference other than during summer, just like a regular summer class, it is much more fast pace. It is harder to catch up if you miss 1 or 2 lectures. You just finish your midterm and you are already preparing for the finals.
Q: What are some tips you would pass on to prospective online summer school students?
A: Taking online courses during summer is like a double-edged sword. With online class, you have the flexibility and the convenience of having all your lectures online. However, it requires a lot of self-discipline. Always making sure you watch your lectures on time even when you travel or at home and not on a classroom environment.
Q: What are some of the benefits you experienced with taking an online class during the summer?
A: As already mentioned, online class is very convenient and flexible. I can download my classes and go to a park and study. When I travel, I am able to access my lectures wherever I go.
Q: Any challenges?
A: One of my biggest challenges is setting a time to watch and study my lecture. There is always something happening in the summer. I travel, go to work, hangout with friends. It is so easy to just set aside studying especially when I am are not obliged to go to school.
Q: How did you find the communication with other students and with your professor?
A: With the professor, she is very accessible. She even acknowledges and addresses people like me watching her lecture when she teaches. She has responded to my email fairly promptly as far as I can remember. As for students, there are always many eager classmates who are willing to converse with you regarding certain topics on cuLearn discussion board. Some are even willing to share their notes. I guess that is because many of are online students trying to learn with one another.
Q: Would you take an online course during the summer again?
A: I’ve always considered that as an option in my past 4 years of undergrad. Maybe when I go back to studying again and when I am given the opportunity to take another one, why not.
Q: Some general concerns are about the amount of free time students get during the summer months while taking an online course. Can you speak to this at all? How was your experience with free time?
A: When you take a summer class, it is already given that free time will be limited. Summer classes are always hectic whether in class or online, especially when you are taking multiple classes. I’d say juggling online classes and other things such as job or other classes; there is really not much free time. If you really want to do well, self-discipline is the key.