OPINION: It’s always a good morning with asynchronous classes

Asynchronous classes get a bad rap. 

But, for many students, the virtual courses can make life a lot easier. 

Asynchronous courses are classes taught entirely online, where all coursework is posted by the teacher and completed by the student without any in-person or online interaction. 

For junior Yadira Eck, asynchronous classes at DePaul allow her to manage her academic load with less stress. 

“As a commuter, having one async class helps relieve the stress of traveling a lot,” Eck said. “I can work on the assignments based on my own schedule.” 

One of the primary arguments against asynchronous courses is that there can be little to no collaboration and live discussion, which can lead to a lack of motivation amongst students. 

But, I would argue that asynchronous classes allow for just the right amount of discussion and learning without the added stress of attending an actual class. You may never actually meet your classmates, but you know that they are there, working on the same assignments and projects. This in itself is enough teamwork for some students who are too busy for lengthy group projects or daily zoom meetings. 

As with any class, asynchronous courses are what you make of them. Part of becoming an adult is learning how to manage your time and complete a task without someone constantly tapping on your shoulder reminding you to do it. Asynchronous classes give students an opportunity to develop these skills before entering the real world. 

And it’s not only students who sometimes prefer this online style of learning. Professors also benefit from the flexibility that the courses allow. 

Joel Reynolds, an assistant professor in the DePaul School of Hospitality Leadership, said that asynchronous courses allow him to reach more students than he would in a traditional classroom setting. 

“I enjoy the diversity and inclusion in these courses that might not be possible in an in-person setting,” Reynolds said. Many DePaul students are working, and not having a set class time each week allows students to complete the course work at their own pace and when it is convenient to them.”

Some professors also believe that asynchronous courses give students an opportunity to learn more about themselves and their work styles. 

Grace Lemmon, an associate professor in the Department of Management & Entrepreneurship at DePaul, formulates her course so that students can come to understand what does and does not work for them so that they are better prepared for their professional lives. 

“The experimentation process is a growth opportunity,” Lemmon said. “You learn how to problem solve on your own, how to cope with feelings of occasional loneliness or isolation when you don’t have buddies literally sitting next to you, and you learn that high stakes work can and does take place online, asynchronously.” 

Lemmon also strives to prioritize the schedules of students with her asynchronous teaching, because she remembers the challenges associated with balancing life and school. 

“I want to support our students as they manage the very serious demands in their lives,” Lemmon said. “Nearly 20 years ago, as an undergraduate at DePaul, I remember feeling very much at the mercy of other people’s schedules and demands, including those of my professors. I felt very little autonomy when I did my work, and that feeling can be suffocating.” 

The bottom line is you have to know yourself and your learning style. If you do not thrive in an environment where you have to regulate yourself and your work in order to succeed, then steer clear of asynchronous courses. 

But, if you are self-motivated and like doing things on your own time, then consider adding one or two of them to your course cart for the spring quarter.