No one could imagine an online physics class a few decades ago. The only means was the offline method as found in any high school or college. But we hear many stories today of people taking courses online. Due to COVID-19, many schools had to shift to online options as well. This situation has raised many questions like how does an online class work. There’s a bit of debate, too, in that you may not have a choice but to take it. And too often, you’re left to flounder with little help.
Regardless of your age or skill, you’ll be a hero if you are willing to work hard. But you need to know how an online physics class works. How has it evolved? And how does it differ from the old, offline learning? We’ll help you in deciding whether it is right for you. Read on…
The Old Physics Class
The old physics class has remained unchanged for hundreds of years. While the size and content may vary, their setup is the same. These classes typically consist of a lecture hall and a lab room.
As the name implies, the lecture hall is where your tutor will stand in front of you. He may outline the week’s content, solve a few related puzzles, talk about physics, or do other non-interactive activities. Such a class usually lasts an hour or two, two to five times a week. It can take anywhere from three months to a full year, depending on the scope of the content covered and the school’s particular term system (think of semesters or quarters).
A typical lecture hall will seat from 10 to 100 students, while the lab may have room for no more than 20 to 30 students. It is thus uncommon to have several lab rooms for every lecture hall.
The Interactive Offline Physics Class
Many refer to the old physics class as the teach-and-preach class based on the idea the teacher is at the front preaching physics to students as a form of teaching. This non-interactive mode has come under fire lately. And, as a result, it has experienced a shift to interactive classes.
Based on over two decades of work, physics research has become a field of its own. And it is starting to influence what teachers teach. Its main goal is to know how students learn physics through life and then use it to help teach the subject in a more effective way.
One of the most used results from this research is the idea that collaboration is critical. There is thus more emphasis on working in small groups. Here the teacher acts as less of a purveyor of facts and more of a facilitator by helping you along your journey. But he’ll never tell you where to go.
Blended Learning: Half-Online Half-Offline
As the Internet provided a new means, many schools mixed it with their current ground-based studies. A hybrid class is half-offline and half-online. It is a solution to the either/or dilemma. And it works when the best of both worlds is used – that is, the best features of online and the best of a face-to-face class.
Using early versions of the blackboard, these classes were some of the first attempts at teaching physics through the Internet. Most follow the old class curriculum and thus will last just as long and cover the same content as an offline class. Typically, the lecture-and-lab part remains offline, while the quizzes and homework are online.
Blended learning is also the easiest way to take advantage of the Internet by relegating the tedious job of grading homework and quizzes and allowing the teacher to focus on the lectures and labs. However, it also demands the tutor be at two places at once. But it can be a real challenge for teachers who remained offline all their lives or had intensive research duties.
Hey, don’t forget, you have to monitor or manage your learning to succeed. If you only read the content or watch videos online, then you shouldn’t expect your learning online to do much good.
The Pure Online Physics Class
These are 100% online and last between six to eight weeks with a student commitment of 10 hours a week. The amount of content covered in it is generally broader than any other type of physics class. It is mainly because of the role that it plays in your career.
And one more thing: There are many advantages of learning physics online:
- Reduces travel and travel costs
- Enables learning anytime and anywhere
- Asynchronous enhances the ability for just-in-time learning
- More time responsive
- Fills the gaps left by cash-strapped school districts
- Encourages your creativity
That’s why it is likely to become even hotter in the next decade and beyond, and it will be the future. When you’re learning physics online, you’ll take advantage of interacting with your teacher with the push of a button or the click of a mouse.
So make the most of this amazing and ever-growing world of technology. Feel empowered! You are living in a brave, new world, and there is so much that it has to offer.
An intuitive editor and a published writer, with extensive experience writing/editing papers on many subjects.
He also worked as an editor (at JFE), senior content writer (at SORCIM.com), and proofreader in several multinational companies.
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