When I read the article written by Zhao, N. and McDougall, D (2008), I felt like Chinese students’ perceptions toward online courses in the study were very much similar to mine when I took online courses at IU.
I have taken three online courses at IU until now. When I first attended an online course I thought it was very strange type of class. I was not familiar with asynchronous online discussions or interaction with peer in the online environment. However, as time went by, I felt online courses were very beneficial for me. First, I liked online courses because I felt less language barrier than face-to-face classes. I could have more time to think, reflect, and read others’ postings before I post my threads. However, sometimes it was difficult to understand the meaning of others’ postings when they talked about the details of North American culture and use colloquial language. Second, I liked that I could have more chance to talk in online environments while I barely talked in traditional face-to-face classes. Third, I enjoyed online discussion because I could hear others’ ideas. I could have ‘real’ interaction with other students by giving and receiving each other’s feedback every week. And, I felt that students in online classes showed more thoughtful and reflective ideas than who were in face-to-face classes. Finally, online learning was very attractive to me because it was very convenient and flexible. I could attend classes whenever and wherever I want to, if I am with my laptop. Also, I could manage my study schedule by studying at my own pace.
Naxin Zhao & Douglas McDougall (2008). Cultural influences on Chinese students’ asynchronous online learning in a Canadian university. Journal of Distance Learning, 22(2). 59-80.
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