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What students really think about learning online

Susan Lafky
September 19th, 2014

Online German teacher Susan Lafky reveals what her students say about web-based instruction

students-learning-onlineAfter recently posting two pieces about being an online teacher on the Middlebury Interactive Languages’ blog, I realized something was missing from the conversation: the voice of the students actually taking the digital classes.

So I polled my German language students, asking one simple question: “What do you like most about learning German online?” Participation was completely voluntary, and I was pleasantly surprised by the number of students who took the time to respond.

When reviewing the students’ comments, some clear themes emerged. One of the bigger themes was how much the students value self-paced learning. I have found that with many students, a self-paced structure actually enhances independence, responsibility, and confidence.

If you miss a day you can easily get caught up, and you can work ahead.

I can take my time and not be in a huge rush to finish classes and forget everything I’ve learned.

Doing online schooling has allowed me to work at my own pace, be it faster or slower than everyone else.

Being able to watch (recordings of) classes if you miss them.

To choose at what time of day you do your work.

The fact that it allows you to spend more time on one project more than another if need be.

It helps build quality skills like responsibility and organization.

(Next page: More student feedback—including some of the key challenges they face in school)