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Online Course Enrollment Skyrockets at Ole Miss

Enrollment in online courses at Ole Miss has jumped more than 3,000 percent in recent years.  Photo by Brian Romski.
Enrollment in online courses at Ole Miss has jumped more than 3,000 percent in recent years. Photo by Brian Romski.

More Ole Miss students are signed up for online classes than ever before, but these classes should come with a warning: Don’t register for an online class unless your time management skills are up to par.

Cossar Morgan, a sophomore business student at Ole Miss, is currently enrolled in Writing 102, the second writing class he has taken online.

“If you are motivated they are a lot easier, but there is also a downside to them. You can fall behind pretty easily because you are not going to class every week,” said Morgan.

Morgan advises people thinking about signing up for an online class to remember that you have to treat it like any other course.

“Remember to stay on top of all your assignments because it’s easy to lose track of them, and just try and treat it as a regular class,” said Morgan.

Instructor Michael Tonos, who taught a large online section of IMC 204 Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication in the fall, agrees with Morgan.

“The students need to be self-starters and motivated. Just because [the class] is online does not mean it does not need to be done or that you can wait until the last minute. Read the syllabus,” said Tonos.

An email interview with April Thompson, who oversees summer, winter and online sessions at Ole Miss, provided some statistics about online courses.

“Looking at fall semesters only from 2001 to 2013 Ole Miss Course enrollment has increased by 3,546 percent. From fall 2012 to fall 2013 alone, Ole Miss online course enrollment increased by 36 percent.”

Thompson also offers a word of warning for those considering an online course.

“Online classes are a great option, but they are not for everyone. The most successful students in online courses are self-motivated and organized,” she said.

Tonos also said success in an online class depends on the student.

“My philosophy is whether you’re in the classroom or online you succeed by doing the work.”

Chancellor Zaugg, a freshman marketing major, is currently enrolled in an online section of CSCI 103, which is a computer-surveying course. Zaugg said he only spends a limited number of hours a week on his online class.

“Depending on the week and assignments, probably around 2-3 hours, somewhere around there,” he said.

Zaugg says he enjoys the fact that he is in control and can work ahead if he wants to, but he says in-person classes may be better for some things.

“Personally, I don’t think you should take too many online classes, because going into the classroom you get a better feel and understanding of the material,” said Zaugg.

Thompson had one final piece of advice.

“My advice would be to take courses that compliment your academic strengths and be rigorously organized.”

This story was contributed by Ole Miss journalism student Brian Romski, bromski@go.olemiss.edu.


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