Students learn better using online sources

Sophomore Trey Avery works on an assignment for class. Students are more successful when they utilize digital resources, said Director of the First-Year Experience Program Matthew Little.

The Association of American Publishers conducted a study that shows students learn better and get higher grades when they use digital resources.

Organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Michael and Susan Dell Foundation have discovered through research that education technology crafts personal learning for each student, which in turn contributes to success.

Students are more successful when they utilize digital resources, said Director of the First-Year Experience Program Matthew Little.

Assistant professor of Health, Physical Education and Recreation Jean Helm Allen teaches the course Motor Learning online. She said digital resources can help some students.

“I only teach one online class, and the software I use comes with the option to use a digital textbook or get a physical textbook, and I’ve had several students do that because they want that physical copy,” she said.

UNA has many digital resources to offer to both online students and in-class students. UNA offers online tutoring services to those who have online classes as well as access to Canvas, an online platform for classes, for every UNA student.

The success center strictly limits online tutoring to online students since many of them are unable to physically come to the center, Little said. On the other hand, online students can physically come to UNA to take advantage of the resources.

Junior Emily Craig takes online classes through UNA. Craig said her online classes offer her easy access to any information.

“With online classes, I have access to Google at my fingertips,” she said.

Associate Professor of California State University, Saint Bernardo Anna Ya Ni’s study shows that online learning can be more successful than in-class learning in an analytical comparison.

The research shows that through online learning, students continually maintain group discussions, the level of reflection is high and students’ sense of anxiety lessens.

Craig said her online classes offer her more time to finish assignments.

“Instead of being assigned work on a Tuesday to be turned in on a Thursday, my online assignments are due every other week. It makes my class easier when I have lengthy assignments,” she said.

Little said Canvas can be a very valuable asset to the students who use it.

“Through Canvas, students can always track their progress and check their grades no matter where they are,” he said.

Little said while he sees value in digital resources, he believes students should first experience classroom learning.

“I recommend students easing themselves into online learning,” he said. “I think it’s best to do it the old-fashioned way in order to have a support structures like faculty members so translating what college is like online is easier.”

Helm Allen said she does not want to leave behind face-to-face teaching.

“I think there will always be learners who learn better in those situations,” she said.

Online learning offers more flexibility, so students can determine the pace at which they want to study, Craig said.

“I advise students to keep up with your work, (and) don’t put your assignments on the back burner,” she said. “Pace yourself.”

Craig said she would recommend online learning as opposed to in-class learning because she has experienced so much success with her courses.

“You can take your online courses anywhere, so it’s much easier, and you never have to worry about missing a class,” she said. “The online teachers I’ve had are very helpful and will answer any questions you have. Just don’t be afraid to try something new.”