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Online Courses: Useful or Useless?

Angela Alfano

Staff Writer

As universities embrace the digital age and offer a multitude of online courses, LIU Post only offers three online programs. Two of the credited courses are offered at the graduate level and one is offered for undergraduate students.

Those programs consist of Archives and Record Management and Mobile GIS Application, which are only available to graduate students, and Health Information Management, which is only available for undergrads. As of now, there is no new information as to whether the University will offer more online programs.

When asked about the success of online courses, Dr. Liz Ciabocchi, associate vice president for Instructional Technology and Faculty Develop­ment at LIU Online said, “When done properly, on­line classes can be very effective [educationally].”

According to Ciabocchi, the online courses offered by Post are not tied to specific courses; they are just general courses to fill any gaps. Ciaboc­chi does feel that online courses are not meant for everyone. “[Taking an online course] is a learned habit in itself, just like studying,” said Ciabocchi.

David Shimkin, English professor at LIU Post, agrees that online courses are beneficial in that they are flexible when it comes down to timing. However, Shimkin also believes that online courses take away certain qualities a classroom has versus a laptop.

Shimkin feels that online courses do not compare to an actual teacher standing in front of a student teaching and explaining a topic in every de­tail, answering every question. “Online classes are beneficial because they allow for flexibility when other schedules, such as an in a predetermined classroom course, do not.”

The student body at Post is very diverse in that there are students straight from high school, adults returning to school and transfer students who come to Post after completing a certain amount of credits from another school.

Transfer students need to have a required amount of credits before entering their accurate year at Post. Amanda Celentano, a junior Radiologic Technology major, transferred from Nassau Com­munity College this past year. While Post accepted 53 of her credits, Celentano had to take the rest of the credits she needed online. Celentano also had to take a couple of history courses at SUNY Farmingdale because they were not offered online at Post.

During her fall semester, Celentano took Medical Terminology, an online course, which was offered through Post. This class was a major requirement and a prerequisite, which, according to Celentano, would have set her back if she had traditionally taken the course.

The online courses Celentano took at Farmingdale last summer cost an average of $800 per class. The cost of a certificate in Health Infor­mation Management, which is a 30-credit online program, is $22,000.

The advanced certificate in Mobile GIS Appli­cation costs approximately $2,100 per course with a $360 term fee. The certificate is 12-credit program.

“I would much rather take a classroom course because I feel more like a student,” said Celentano. “I like the feeling of going to school, rather than being on my laptop two hours a day. In my opinion, I believe that online courses require a lot more writ­ing work, which is not my favorite thing to do.”

Celentano believes that students taking online classes must discipline themselves be­cause they are forced to have the responsibility of assignments and due dates. They become the teacher, Celentano added.

For more information on online courses, con­tact the Office of Academic and Career Counsel­ing at (516) 299-2900.

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