Attendance in Online Classes Versus Traditional Classrooms

Both online and traditional classrooms have their advantages and disadvantages.
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Educating students is a goal of both online schools and traditional schools. However, the delivery method of education is different. Students attend traditional schools in a brick-and-mortar building, while online classes are attended via the Internet. The attendance policy is also different for online schools and traditional schools. Deciding on whether to attend online schools versus traditional schools is often based on the advantages and disadvantages of the attendance policy.

1 Online Attendance Advantage

A major advantage of online classes is the asynchronous learning environment, allowing learning the material anytime and anywhere. The advantage of online attendance is that students are not required to meet face-to-face in a physical location. Instead, attendance is checked by instructors through responses to e-mails, discussion board postings and assignment submissions. As long as you respond to course requirements by the day and time established by the instructor, you will meet the online attendance requirements.

2 Online Attendance Disadvantage

Students who are not self-motivated and procrastinate can fail to meet attendance requirements of online schools and end up failing courses. If you wait until the last minute to make your online presence, you could experience technical difficulties also preventing you from meeting attendance requirements. Many online school instructors do not sympathize with students who give lost Internet connection and computer equipment failure as reasons for not meeting deadlines.

3 Traditional Attendance Advantage

Although attendance policies differ from one instructor to another, many consider student attendance as an obligation. Traditional schools provide students with a physical building in which to meet and instructors to teach course content. Students who attend class regularly in traditional schools gain the benefits of face-to-face interaction with instructors and other students. Furthermore, students who regularly attend classes typically perform better than students who skip classes. According to Mississippi State University, there is “...a full grade-point difference between those who go to class and those who have attendance problems."

4 Traditional Attendance Disadvantage

Many students find traditional schools less flexible than online schools. Attending traditional schools requires your physical presence and conforming to a set schedule. Depending on your professor's attendance requirements, your class absence can result in a grade penalty. For example, according to Minnesota State University Mankato, "Some faculty count attendance positively in grade determination while others count the lack of attendance against the student's grade." Additionally, since some classes in a traditional college can contain over 100 students, you may experience distractions, such as ringing cell phones or students leaving class during lectures, and this can impede your learning.

Jeannine Lowe is a business technology teacher at McKenzie High School in Tennessee. She has been writing on business and marketing topics since 2007. Lowe obtained her Master of Science in education through Walden University, specializing in integrating technology into the classroom.