Why Gov. Jerry Brown’s Online Community College Proposal is a Bad Idea

Dorian Uson, Staff Writer

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Recently, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a new community college that would be offered to students completely online. While there may be a few benefits to this, overall it is not a good idea.

According to “Community College Daily,” the reason behind this is to reach the people who can’t spend time on campus getting an education. “We have literally tens of thousands of working adults with some college and no credentials and a couple of million working adults who are unemployed or underemployed,” Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to reach a population that really needs a community college to achieve economic mobility.”

Going to school and working simultaneously are definitely difficult to manage, but it is doable. If anything, it is more doable when you have to attend class rather than a student  havingan online class. Online classes require a considerable amount of self teaching, self disicipline, and homework when compared to traditional classes; therefore, students unable to attend an in person class due to work, will actually be spending more of their own time doing schoolwork when they get home.

Another thing that a student attending a completely online community college will be missing out on is the social aspect of community college. There are hundreds of clubs and organizations that students join. Often these affiliations are an important part of transfer acceptance to a major university. If a student attends an all online community college, then applies to transfer to a university that isn’t online, they will not be prepared for the rigor of university. Classes, discussions and even assignments are different in traditional college classes. Unless a student is planning on attending an all online university, such as University of Phoenix, then an all online community college is not the best idea.

Typically, online classes are set up differently than face-to-face classes in order to help students succeed. There are also some classes that simply cannot be done online. Science labs for example, typically meet for three hours at a time and have a great deal of hands on work that cannot be completed in an online environment. The same can be applied to art classes. This might be acceptable in photography classes, but not to the same extent of in person classes. For example, different computer monitors display colors differently, and since not all photography is viewed online, an in person class is imperative for this discipline. Art is completely visual and real. A student can’t upload a painting online, only a photograph of a painting, and any artist will tell you those are two different things. Perhaps a professor can visualize the basics of your paintings from a picture, but they won’t be able to grade the detail of it, which art is often based on.

An online-only community college can offer some advantages like access to many general education courses. Students in some majors, especially some associate degree majors could work in this environment, but for most students this is not the best way to obtain an education, especially potential transfers to schools like the University of California.


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