Joel Yelton" />
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Monday, October 2, 2023


Online instruction should cost less

For many students, the Feb. 16 tuition hike announcement is yet another obstacle to surviving college. Unfortunately, the quality of education is not rising proportionately.

The most glaring aspect of UH’s sub-par educational value is Blackboard Vista.

Online classes are a lifeline to many students who cannot attend school at campus because of time or location constraints. I fall into this category.

The issue at hand is the quality of instruction Vista offers, and quality is certainly lacking in this technological arena.

More specifically, many dialogue-heavy classes such as English and history suffer, despite great lesson plans or enthusiastic professors.

How can an online class cost as much as a class taught in person when there is no room and, technically, no professor?  Of course, there must be a plethora of technological fees, costs and maintenance involved in providing the information.

But there is no logic behind charging full price for a series of lectures that often were recorded more than five years ago.

Students should be charged on a decreasing scale since they are merely getting a rehash of old information.

With Vista, it’s impossible to experience the same level of interaction available in a person-to-person class. Students’ money is spent wisely when they are able to directly communicate with professors and have meaningful exchanges that show how the professors’ specialties relate to current, real-world issues.

It is difficult to have relevant discussions with professors and classmates online because the dialogue is slow and balky, often transpiring over days. Competing topics are spread across multiple threads and thus lose urgency.

Because of this, it becomes difficult to engage professors with one-on-one issues. Since students are paying full price for a class, it is reasonable to expect that the University provide as many of the qualities of an in-person class as possible.

It’s also pertinent to ask how professors are paid when teaching through Vista. Do they get paid less since they no longer have to give lectures? If so, where is all of the extra money going?

Obviously, it does not go toward the lively, up-to-date conversations of regular classes; neither is it spent on professors who are easily accessible and enjoy devoting time to students’ personal issues.

This isn’t to say that Vista should be abandoned. As with the total university experience, class adventures run the gamut from amazing to less than remarkable.

But UH needs to either act as a business and charge its customers a price that reflects the quality of its product or act as a leader in the field of education and seek to eliminate such issues as outdated information and hampered personal interaction between students and professors.

As students’ debt to UH continues to mount, a solution must be forthcoming. For now, my pride for this institution patiently waits.

Joel Yelton is an English senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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