More than 6.7 million college students enrolled in online courses in fall 2011, according to Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States. The staggering number of students participating in online courses has increased for 10 consecutive years. Also, the economic state has motivated people to change careers or further their education through online degree programs. Although many people perceive online courses as flexible and convenient, there are numerous disadvantages, as well.

Personal Interaction

Students who are taking online courses do not have the same level of personal interaction as traditional courses. The online atmosphere can create a feeling of isolation that can negatively affect a student's performance in the course. Few interactions with classmates and instructors result in limited networking opportunities and poor peer relationships. Online courses also reduce the amount of communication practices such as group presentations, speeches or class discussions. Limited access to both verbal and non-verbal cues can make it difficult for students to comprehend the meaning of course material and concepts.

Limited Resources

An appealing characteristic of online classes is that they can be completed from any location in the world. However, completing online courses while at home or traveling can hinder a student's academic performance. The majority of schools offer learning facilities such as libraries, labs or study rooms to enhance a student's learning experiences. Not having access to these facilities can negatively affect a student's quality of educational quality and performance.


The reliability of technology is steadily increasing; however, there are still chances that your server could fail, or your Internet service could disconnect. It's important for cyber students to persistently back-up their work in the event there is trouble with the hard drive. Working online also proposes the risk of a failed email or a delayed assignment submission. To minimize risks, students should study and complete assignments ahead of time. If students do not troubleshoot technical problems in a timely manner, they can become a hinderance to their overall academic experience.


Cyber school requires students to take responsibility for their education. When students work in isolation, it can be difficult for them to complete their assignments. While online courses may be effective for highly motivated students, they be intimidating for students who struggle with time management and internal motivation. Struggling students who take online courses fail or withdraw more often when compared to struggling students in traditional courses. Consequently, struggling students need higher levels of engagement with their instructors to succeed. If struggling students do not have motivation or personal interaction, their educational experience could be shortchanged by online courses.

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