Monday, May 29, 2006

Most Frustrating Part of Online Classes

All in all, taking classes has been a fairly easy experience. I've had very little trouble registering for classes, taking the classes via WebCT, submitting work online, etc. Additonally, I have been suprised at the lack of technical difficulties. One thing that I did not anticipate having trouble with was getting the textbooks. I had assumed that this would be one of the easiest parts of the entire process - with so many ways to purchase books online. However, textbook lists are not always published far in advance - and sometimes they are never listed. Other items also play a part. For this summer session, I registered for a class. I waited for a long time to order the books, because I suspected that there was a possibility that the class would be cancelled. But, I did order the books. Then, the class was cancelled. I registered for another class. The books for the second class were not listed in book lists on the bookstore's web site nor were they listed on the ILS department's web site. I had to try and track down the books from other sources. At this point, one of the books is available at the library where I work, another one I was able to borrow from a library colleague and the third is still in the mail. I hope that it arrives soon given that classes start tomorrow - although I have been told that it may take two weeks (ARGH!!).

So far book issues have been without a doubt the most frustrating problem associated with getting a degree online. I hope that professors can become more sensitive to this issue in the future. Recently, one student in the online program from Europe recently sent an email appeal to people in the library program asking about textbooks for a class in the fall. Usually, it can take between 6-8 weeks to get textbooks delivered to this student's location. I thought my trials with books were frustrating, but they can't be anything in comparison. I certainly hope that people take notice of this issue. Understandably, it takes time for faculty to prepare their courses and to make textbooks selections. However, in an online program, these tasks need to take place at a fairly accerlerated pace as compared to these task in a traditional program.

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