Paperless courses are becoming more and more common among all schools. Is it actually beneficial?
Paper or computer screen? In high school I remember having tons of folders and books shoved with homework or handouts; now I find myself with very few handouts or paper homework at all.
To the environmentalists of the world, yes, it is very helpful. We are saving trees by not using as much paper and relying on other resources such as online homework. But to the average student, is it? I can safely say I strongly dislike the paperless courses. It’s easier for me to have the assignment in front of me.
Having the actual physical paper helps me to remember to get it done. I recently missed a participation journal in a class because I didn’t check the Web site; I guarantee if I would have had to write it in a real journal to hand in the day of class, I would have remembered. Maybe that’s just me.
I also like having the ability to write and highlight my papers to help me understand it better or to use it as study material. Ninety percent of the time I will print out the document posted online at home to have, defeating the purpose of these paperless courses.
Then there is the issue of having to trust your Internet. The Internet in my residence hall is constantly down or running very slow. How do I submit a paper online before the deadline if my Internet is down? Yes, I could go to the library but by that time I have probably missed the deadline.
The likeliness of my pen and paper dying on me are close to none. My pen dies, I grab a new one out of my desk drawer and continue writing. My computer dies, well then I am in trouble unless I left myself time to get to the computer lab or library. I am a procrastinator so having extra time to get to a working computer isn’t likely for me.
We have recently discovered in my English class that students indeed spend more time on the actual assignment if the assignment is physically given to them. When you are given a handout the first thing most people do is read it. Teachers believe this is benefiting the students because we are usually online already and therefore will check the Blackboard Web sites they supply us and indeed do our homework online.
Sorry to crush your hopeful intentions, teachers, but when you tell us to check the class Web site and download the assignment, the first thing we most likely do is check Facebook. n