My last class officially starts tomorrow. However, I have logged into the class and posted my introduction. I also started writing my first journal entry in which the professor requests that we discuss our opinions of online classes. It is due tomorrow. As I was working on the entry, I realized how much my overall thoughts about distance education have changed during my time at Southern and how mixed my emotions are on this subject. The bottom line? I seriously do not think that I would ever do an online program again. I might take an online class, but I would not enter a program unless a school had online tools to allow for student and professor interaction outside the classroom. There would need to be a good infrastructure dedicated to distance students – one that made them feel welcome and important. I found it very difficult to write the journal entry, to give form to my jumbled thoughts on this topic. I ended up saving it in draft form so that I can think more about it.
One of my biggest problems with my online program is the lack of community feeling. I know that I have been going to school. My stress levels can attest to that fact. Intellectually, I know that I am going to Southern Connecticut State University. I mean that is the school that is on my Visa bill – and the one that should be on my diploma. However, I feel no sense of belonging to any type of college community, feel no sense of connection the school and feel only limited connections to any peers or professors. While two years ago I probably would have said that this wouldn’t matter, I now believe that it is very important. I have missed this type of connection and do feel as if my degree program could have been so much more than it has been.