By Deidra Marbley
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Ebony Green, a 36-year-old working mother of two, is finding online learning to be very difficult. But based on her schedule, it may be her only option as she struggles to complete her human services degree.

Ebony Green sits at her dining room table as she completes an assignment for a computer literacy course at Camden County College. By Deidra Marbley, CCC Journalism Program

Camden County College offers more than 120 online classes, according to camdencc.edu. And while it’s very convenient, say many students who take advantage of the services, it is also very cumbersome.

“The professors that I have had were very vague, blunt and sometimes rude in their communications with me,” Green said. She, like many others taking online classes, have the challenge of multitasking home life with work and school. “I pay for my education the same as on-campus students, so I should get the same experience,” she added.

All four students interviewed stated they did not feel like they were part of the school. They did not make friends online, had no social interaction and never attended school events. Three of them stated it wasn’t very important as they were older and didn’t have the time to participate, but one former student, Brenda Ruiz, 31, said, “Even though I receive notifications about the events, I never received encouragement from the professors to attend.”

Ruiz, also a full time working mother who hasn’t yet finished her degree said “It’s hard to build rapport because the teachers just post what needs to be done and are sometimes unreachable.”

The students agreed they felt like they were teaching themselves and the online courses required more effort on their part. So, how can a student be sure they can be successful with online learning?

Here are some tips from the Camden County College website:

Depending on the type of student you are, you can look at any of the following as pros or cons: Work from anywhere, pace yourself, more classwork/homework, little interaction with professors, no college campus experience or school pride, self-taught classes, and no social interaction.

If you are a self-starter, determined and independent person who does not mind much reading while being in the comfort of your home and campus life is not important to you, then online learning is for you.

On the contrary, if you enjoy face-to-face interaction with professors and students and depend on help and clarity from others, then online classes may not be the way to go.

If you need help determining what type of student you are and if online learning will be successful for you, you can take the Distance Learning Self-Assessment on www.collegeanywhere.org/orientation/self_asmt.htm.

Camden County College also offers hybrid classes that allow for students with limited time to spend half their time in a traditional class and half online.

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