COMS Summer Courses Online

Head shot of Dr. William Kovarik
Dr. Bill Kovarik, Professor

The School of Communication increases number of online courses

By LeeAnn Scarberry

This summer, the number of online course offerings by the School of Communication has risen giving students more opportunities to take the required classes and electives.

Online classes are a great way for students to catch up if they need to, get ahead, and to have another way to take classes.

Bill Kovarik will be one of the professors teaching online classes this summer. He will be teaching media history and media law and ethics.

The biggest issue when teaching online classes, according to Kovarik, is trying to introduce the topic to the students online. In his current classes, it’s only in print instead of through video or audio formats.

“It’s been suggested that I either do a ten-minute video or audio segment. I did that for my media law class, so I have podcasts for all the different segments of media laws,” he said.

Videos and audio help students learn alongside the readings for the class. They have the ability to watch or listen to them again. For professors though, just providing that might not be enough.

“From the teacher’s point of view, in person classes, I can observe, I can see not just if they are listening or not but whether I’m speaking either over their head or they’re way ahead of me and they’re getting bored,” he said.  “I can gauge the mood of the audience and adjust certain things for them and you can’t do that online.”

Online classes can help different type of learners understand the lessons and learn the material. Sometimes in person classes do not work for all students.

“Somethings, for some learners, you have to take them personally and step by step and you get confused in a big classroom. I think they are both really important and we ought to offer almost everything in both formats,” Kovarik said.

Online classes are more structured since the discussion aspect of the class is not there but Kovarik does not think there should be much of a difference.

“I think the structures are very similar and if it’s not there’s a problem because we should be teaching pretty much the same things. There shouldn’t be a big wide variation,” he said.

The length of online classes is different from a regular semester but students have the time to learn all of the materials. Individual students can decide how many hours they put into the work a day since they usually take less classes during the summer.

Erin Cafferty, a senior public relations student, has taken a teamwork and communication class online.

“We had one scheduled meeting time a week, other than that things were just due at a certain point and get online and do discussion,” she said.  

The online class worked better for her than meeting in person for a class would have at that time but she prefers in person now.

“When I was taking the class, I preferred the online because I was really busy and had a lot of stuff going on and I didn’t really want to concern myself with going to the class, but now that I’m a senior I really like the face to face interactions with the professors and just what you get from the discussion,” she said.

Some of the classes that are being offered are digital imaging, persuasion, and introduction to communication. The entire list of classes can be found here: http://www.radford.edu/content/chbs/home/comm/news/releases/COMSsummer2016schedule.html

Apr 2, 2016
School of Communication
540-831-6553
acox10@radford.edu