"Online classes focus students on reading, which is becoming a lost art," said Greenville Tech history professor Norman Raiford.
"It also focuses students on writing, and writing forces you to think." Raiford
was among the "pioneers" when Greenville Tech professors began teaching online classes seven years ago.He
is teaching a two-part Western civilization class online this summer.
"There is no excuse for not being 'in class,' " he
has had students participate from as far away as the Philippines.He
once taught a class from Europe, relating the sights to the issues they discussed in class, he
Other drawbacks come to mind, Raiford
said.For example, both professors and students must be careful with written responses.In addition, students often view a professor answering questions in one or two sentences as cold and short, he
"You can say something face to face in a teasing, casual way that written can be taken a different way," he
Still, online classes are not as impersonal as they may appear, he
"Students can develop friendships with teachers and teachers can develop friendships and rapport with students simply by what they are e-mailing back and forth," he