Letter: Online assignments poor

Online assignments and quizzes have become the norm for most of our classes, especially for science and engineering students. I know most of us have taken this in stride and have no problem doing homework assignments using Mallard, WebCT and IlliniCompass programs.

Although the Internet can be a great tool for higher education, it is taking over the education process like a giant amoeba oozing with (mis)information. On a big campus like ours, where personal contact with professors and TA’s has always been lacking, online assignments can exacerbate student apathy toward learning the material.

Many assignments give no feedback or explanation of an incorrect answer. By repeated guesswork, it is often possible to get full credit without having any idea what you were doing. And perfectly bright, albeit less tech-savvy, students can have their grades hurt because of picky answer formats or irregular due dates of online assignments.

If our University requires us to have consistent access to the Internet, then it should at least provide each residence hall with a decent computer with Internet access and a word processor. Many public universities such as Ohio University already do so. We also need a single, easy-to-use online program common to all classes requiring online assignments.

Benjamin Selander

junior in LAS