Today’s high school and college classes incorporate the Internet far more than any other generation’s classes have. Everything from research for homework to actual exams and quizzes are being posted online, and the Internet is almost mandatory for anyone researching up-to-date facts. Looking up facts in an encyclopedia is no longer a guarantee that they are relevant or even accurate thanks to rapid technological and scientific innovation.
The next step in this progression is the move to online classes, and high school and college classes are increasingly moving online, too. It is more convenient for students and the teacher, and it allows self-motivated learners to perform to their full capabilities. The requirement to have a good Internet connection is still universal, however. Here are some reasons that students need fast Internet.
Researching Scholarly Sources Online
While sites like Wikipedia are not image-intensive, scholarly sources can sometimes require a significant amount of bandwidth to download. Whether you’re looking up a textbook or downloading a PDF file of a recent scholarly article, you need fast Internet in order to look up proper scholarly sources. Many courses focus on analyzing videos, images, and similar elements, and you need the bandwidth a good provider like Century Link offers in order to be able to repeatedly load and play these documents.
Watching Online Video Lectures
When you are taking an online course, the lectures are likely delivered in audio or video format. Most lectures are in video format so students can follow along with whiteboard notes or projector slides, but if you don’t have a fast enough connection, it is very frustrating to try to keep up and ignore stutters, skipped moments, and frequent pauses when learning advanced concepts. Smooth playback makes it far easier to digest and process information.
Taking Quizzes and Tests
Online classes and even a limited number of offline classes may require students to take tests or quizzes online. If you’re a student and you are trying to take a test, having your Internet connection be unstable or slow can be disastrous. A page failing to load may disqualify you from a quiz or important final exam, or if you can’t see the video element to an interactive quiz question, you may be forced to guess. These unfair factors set students up for failure.
Since most students compose their assignments on a computer today, teachers typically request that students submit their papers online. This allows them to view, print, and comment on them at their leisure. It also eliminates the “my printer didn’t work” excuses and forces students to show their work through outlines if they so choose. You need a steady Internet connection in order to submit large assignments, though. PDF format assignments may only be a few megabytes, but if you are submitting assignments for art or media classes, they may be very large.
Without a stable Internet connection, students in high school and college risk falling behind. Good Internet is practically, if not actually, required today in order to sign up for some of the best classes out there.
Dennis McIntosh is a professor. He frequently writes about how to be more productive in school on consumer and student focused blogs.