Online Courses Versus Traditional Courses


An online class is a class where a course is offered through the internet, and both instructor and student communicate through a computer. Traditional classes, on the other hand, are carried out in a brick-and-mortar classroom with an instructor being present in person.

Today, there are more online courses as opposed to traditional courses because of the growing number of people and the convenience that comes with online courses. In my own experience, these two present the same level of challenge though I would prefer online courses. This essay is a summary of a comparison of online courses versus traditional courses.

The contrast between Online classes and traditional classes

More commitment and responsibility is enhanced in traditional classes. In traditional classes, the learners must attend classes in persons. This enhances responsibility since one has to be at a particular place, at a particular date and time, and without this commitment, one can not earn marks.

Online courses, on the other hand, do not require physical presence. Using the internet, the students interact with their professors, and they can get the required information and comfortably earn marks. However, proponents of online classes argue that online education also requires one to be disciplined. This is because there is no teacher physically in front to make sure you are paying attention to what he or she is saying.

Level of interaction may be quite limited in online classes. In traditional classes, it is very easy to accesses an instructor compared to online classes whereby the instructor is only available when class sessions.

Immediate feedback is possible in traditional classrooms, but for the online classes it will be immediate feedback is dependent on the mode of teaching used: interacting with other students and professors may pose a challenge more precisely when one does not have the right technology. However, even with the right technology, face to face interaction can not be replaced by the application of technology such as video conversation.

Online courses are more convenient as they allow one to peruse their career while still taking full-time online courses. This is because they can easily access the class environment by just logging in their student account. Also, it allows one to schedule activities in a manner that will suit them best.

However, proponents of traditional education argue that the liveliness in the classroom as a result of vibrant discussion does not exist. This is true to some extent since one only interacts with an instructor. However, through the use of technology such as video conferencing student to vibrant, student discussions can be possible.

Online courses are more flexible since one can attend classes without having to skip your day job, as one can choose a study time that suits him or her better. One is therefore able to undertake and balance several responsibilities without affecting others, for instance, one can attend to his or her family, work and at the same time undertake an online course. Traditional classes, on the other hand, are not very flexible since one has to be present in person at a particular time, and in case there is skipping, then one may lag.

Online learning offers greater understanding due to one-on-one personalized learning. Online education also offers a learning experience that is more tailored to individual students compared to classrooms. Moreover, students have better chances to explain, comment, and critique. However, opponents of online classes argue that in traditional classes, students receive extra academic focused attention since the professor is always there to monitor their progress.

Availability or ease of access to resources is usual, the case as compared to traditional classroom classes. Normally, there are more resources available for online college probably because one does not have to pay for using physical facilities like library, dinning hall or gym and also because the students can easily download the materials required. However, this may deny one the chance to participate in extra curriculum activities which are very important (Accredited Degrees, 2010).

Online courses promote technical and writing skills. Online courses depend heavily on writing and technology. This is because assignments, discussions, projects, and tests all require technology. Ability to use technology has become very important in today’s world.

However, some people argue that the reason why people go to school is to learn and develop skills, and this may pose a challenge without an instructor who will be in charge of the learning process. However, this may not be very effective compared to online courses as online courses offer a unique opportunity since one can apply that knowledge practically.

Online courses are relatively cheaper than traditional courses. According to research, the tuition fee for online courses is relatively lower, probably because only a few programs require the use of text books, and students can download all materials needed for their lecturers. However, proponents of traditional courses argue that online learning is also expensive in the short run since one has to invest heavily in appropriate technology and accessories to make learning possible (Online Education Database, 2011).

Some courses may not be available online. Though this is very rare, it is possible that some courses that one may want to undertake are not offered online. This could be common when a school does not offer an entire degree package or when the school does not offer curriculum online.

Comparison between online courses and traditional courses

Both online course and traditional courses equip one with the knowledge one needs to excel. In both cases, one can get the required information or knowledge to earn a degree.

Both online and traditional courses require colleges and universities to effectively monitor and employ quality assurance strategies to ensure that students come out smart, ambitious, and self-driven. They, therefore, have to come up with different learning styles which may suit different individuals.

In both cases, there is good interaction between the student and the teacher. This is because in traditional courses students have a face to face interaction with the teacher and also in the case of online courses there personalized learning which leads to better relations (Online Education Consultant, 2011).

Material or content covered in online classes and traditional courses are the same. This means that same effort, commitment and motivation are needed to excel in either; one therefore only need to identify which system (online education system or traditional education system) that suits him or her well and then pursue the best.


Different individuals have different likes and tastes, as well as strengths and weaknesses. Some individuals can work well independently without any supervision and with minimal help from instructors, and other colleges may find traditional classes to be burdening; thus, they will opt to offer online classes. On the other hand, some students will find traditional classes more attractive due to face to face interactions and vibrant discussions that exist in classroom settings.


Accredited Degrees. (2010). Comparing distance learning vs. traditional learning. Accredited Degrees. Web.

Online Education Consultant. (2011). 6 similarities between online Education vs. Traditional education. Online Education Consultant. Web.

Online Education Database. (2011). 10 advantages to taking online classes. Online Education Database. Web.

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ChalkyPapers. "Online Courses Versus Traditional Courses." April 15, 2023.