Online courses are not as efficient as they seem


Graphic by Shirah Lister and Max Wix

Aida Belay

Many math teachers are beginning to use online platforms, but the struggles of completing these computerized courses almost seem designed to make our lives harder. Most learning management systems are formatted in a way that is misleading and complex. The main problem with some of these websites is that teachers sometimes aren’t able to show us how they work and when we do them at home it’s harder to ask questions. 

Although websites such as Khan Academy and Delta Math are both efficient and educational, the cons still seem to outweigh the pros. After spending hours trying to finish the homework your teacher assigned you, you may think to yourself, “Is this really worth it? If the homework was on paper would I have been done hours ago?”

First of all, your final score does not accurately represent your work. Your finger slips, the question was misleading, the computer glitches and marks your correct answer wrong, or worst of all the website deletes all of your hard work right before it was due. All of these result in an unfair loss of points from your grade, and there is nothing you can do about it. Unfortunately, your teacher can’t fix your grade since they don’t know anything was wrong in the first place, and for all they know your word might not be the truth.

In addition, underprivileged teens have a harder time than others. Teens growing up in homes and areas where technology is inaccessible to them have a much harder time finishing their assignments due to a lack of internet access. This unfair advantage creates a divide between teens who have computers at home and kids who do not. Some teens can’t even do their homework because they have no access to computers or the internet at home and must use public technology to complete work. Whereas when you live in an area where technology is fast and accessible, finishing homework is significantly easier. 

School and public computers are usually slow and outdated. Nothing is more frustrating than a glitchy and tedious computer. Whether you do your work in the classroom or use them for homework, they are a hassle. Half of my time on online courses is just waiting for the page to load and asking what the website login code is. Your frustration with the lagging computer only lasts for so long until you lose your patience and give up on the actual assignment. When you do the same work with pen and paper you can go at your own pace and work efficiently.

These websites always seem to be focused on the grade rather than the learning. Math courses like Delta Math only show the output of your work. This doesn’t allow your teacher to see what you did wrong, inhibiting them from helping you correct your mistake. It is extremely annoying to put in so much effort to see a low grade that doesn’t reflect your efforts.

It’s a known fact that handwriting helps with memorization and learning. So why are school systems still using technology? With the coronavirus affecting our lives today, school systems have to resort to online courses as a way to reach their students. As we are all still adjusting to this new way of learning, the websites that we use are still confusing and the communication between us and the teachers is fractured. Even though there is no way of having any type of learning other than online while away from school, I still feel like we should resort to pen and paper when given the chance. 

When you write all of your work down you can see your effort visually and everyone gets a chance at learning more. Online courses might be more efficient for teachers but the system is cluttered with inconveniences for us students. Homework will always be unpopular, but leaving online work as extra credit and help will improve the lives of students so much more. •