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Discipline makes the difference in online class preference

For students with busy schedules and internships, online classes offered at Seton Hall for the fall 2016 semester are a convenient option. More than 700 undergraduate students are enrolled in online classes this semester, according to Mary Ellen Farrell from the University Registrar. Farrell provided data on the web-based courses offered, which showed there are 48 undergraduate web-based courses offered this spring 2016 semester, and 744 undergraduates are enrolled in them. There are also 46 web-based graduate courses offered this semester and 528 graduate students are enrolled in these courses. These figures vary depending on the semester, how many webbased courses are offered and the number of students allowed to register for the course slot. In fall 2015 there were 47 undergraduate web-based courses offered and 753 students were enrolled in them. In the same fall semester there were 51 graduate web-based courses offered with 645 students registered for them. The wide range of online classes that Seton Hall offers are an “advantage for self-motivating students,” according to Monica Rice, a professor in the department of catholic studies. Seton Hall has offered online degree programs at the graduate level for 20 years, Farrell said. “Students like the flexibility these online classes offer them,” she said. The courses are strictly online classes and hybrid classes. Hybrid courses are a combination of online and in-person instruction. Kaitlynn Bunch, a freshman majoring in speech pathology, is currently enrolled in a hybrid class this semester. Bunch said she had to meet in person with the instructor for regular classes a few times, but then the remainder of the course was online. She said she liked having an online class because she was able to do it on her own time, and did not have to stress about finishing work in the allotted time in class. Farrell also provided data for the hybrid classes offered. This spring semester there are 12 undergraduate hybrid courses open with 300 students registered in them. There are 278 students enrolled in the 15 graduate hybrid courses offered this semester. Last fall, 174 students were enrolled in the eight undergraduate hybrid courses available. There were 66 students enrolled among the seven graduate hybrid courses offered. Rice said that online classes are a, “good setting” for “mature and motivated students.” For the online classes that she teaches, she has to prepare the syllabus and assignments beforehand because everything must be regimented, Rice said. In contrast, regular classes allow for group work and in person discussion. Bunch has registered for another web-based course for the upcoming fall semester. “I find it to be useful having online classes, especially if I miss a day because I won’t miss a day of class,” she said. While online classes pose an opportunity they also have their disadvantages. Rice, who teaches two online courses, said it is difficult to develop a discussion online. Interaction is easier in regular classes since, “immediate solutions to problems can be found in person,” Rice said. Maxim Matusevich, a history associate professor, said that online courses require self-discipline from students. Matusevich teaches three online courses and his students get their assignments for the semester through Blackboard. He usually teaches one online course in the fall, one in the spring and one to three in the summer. All of the assignments are listed in the syllabus, he said. Online courses rely more on textbooks for structure while in classes there is more time for discussion instead, Matusevich added. Matusevich keeps up with changing technology to stay up to date for facilitating teaching online classes. He said that he tries to make his online courses as interactive as possible. Teaching online courses in the summer, “allows for a lot of flexibility for students and the teacher,” Matusevich said. Online classes have their disadvantages as well, such as procrastination, Bunch said. Farrell added that, “Students don’t realize it takes a degree of discipline,” to finish all of their assignments on time. Samantha Todd can be reached at


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