A web-enhanced course can be an advantage for students who prefer to extend the learning experience outside of the physical classroom. Through online discussion boards, archived lectures and quick access to the syllabus and other information, a web-enhanced course is a benefit to students and instructors. It has the same elements of a traditional college class with minor differences. These small differences can either be a benefit or a disadvantage. This mainly depends on your learning style and schedule.
A web-enhanced college course has the same structure of an in-class course but with some components completed online.
Web-Enhanced Course Features
The web-enhanced class format has a consistent instructor and syllabus and set dates and times. Students who enroll in web-enhanced courses can also access assignments via their home computer or from a library computer at any time. Any course documents, notes from previous classes that the professor has uploaded and other class-related documents are also available online for the students to access at their leisure. This can aid in the student’s further understanding of a subject, a point made in class or for research when writing class-related papers.
A well-planned web-enhanced class may also provide discussion boards, practice tests, archived video of lectures or a quick FAQ sheet that includes the most-asked questions from students about the class or subject. A web-enhanced lecture is one that is given in the physical classroom and then posted online for the class and may include a discussion board attached to the video.
Assignments and Tests
Some web-enhanced courses require students to turn in assignments through the online portal. Instructors can grade the papers and leave detailed notes about the strengths and weaknesses of a student’s work. Tests can also be given through the online portion of a web-enhanced class. This can save time for the student and instructor that can be better spent in class discussing the subject and guiding students in areas in which they may be less confident.
Advantages and Disadvantages
There are many advantages to taking a web-enhanced course. An in-class discussion can be extended online through the discussion board, and support can be offered via other students for further explanation of a topic.
There are some disadvantages of which to be aware as well before signing up for a course that operates online at least part time. They should have some computer experience in order to navigate the different systems that a professor may have them use to complete the course, such as Blackboard or Google Docs. The learning center at the university can assist a student who is unfamiliar with a program. For the online portion of the class, the student needs to be an independent pupil who isn’t easily distracted and can discipline himself to focus and follow through with the course.
Equipment for a Web-Enhanced Course
Before enrolling in a web-enhanced course, students should know what capabilities they will need to successfully complete the class. The equipment needed to complete a college course is important for a successful outcome. There are a few items that are mandatory as a means to communicate with the instructor and the rest of the class when taking a web-enhanced course.
A good, fast and well-stocked computer will make taking a web-enhanced course a breeze. If you are an art major, an Apple computer or Macintosh may be needed to complete art-based courses. A processor with appropriate gigahertz will ensure you can keep up with the demands of typing, having numerous windows open for research and completing assignments without having to refresh. A laptop or desktop with appropriate RAM is necessary to operate the programs needed to download or run in order to complete the course. A reliable and high-speed internet connection is needed to keep you from having issues with connection in order to complete any timed tests.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.