This year, as a part of my degree’s academic requirements, I had to take a social science elective course. When registering last summer, I discovered that I could satisfy the requirement with an online course, which I was excited about, The Brock Press reports.

I hadn’t taken an online class before, or at least, not one at Brock, so I was looking forward to the new experience. To be honest, I expected it to be fairly easy, with no classes to attend, no in-person tests, etc. Like any novelty, I really only considered the advantages of the concept, failing to consider what might be lost in the gap between traditional and online courses.

Last year I participated in a free course Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) by Ball State University that studied gender in comic books. Each “module” of the course featured a new topic with required readings and supplemented the work with video lectures that often starred prolific guests from the industry. The course did a lot to make up for the fact that nothing was in person, and it paid off.

The course was engaging and effective. That’s not to mention that it was free.

Now, I’ll try to be fair in my comparison of the two courses, as one was free and on a topic I’m very interested in, whereas the other was costly academic requirement studying a topic I care very little for. The comparison will only consider how the two courses were conducted.

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