I strongly believe that traditional schools are more effective than online schools because traditional schools create stronger learning environments.
While some students do slack off in the lecture halls and classrooms by surfing Facebook on their laptops, the temptation to ignore the professor is far less than the temptation to multitask while sitting at a computer at home. Students who have difficulty paying attention in class have several options in a traditional college. They can take notes on paper, leaving all electronics behind. They can turn off their wireless radios to take notes on a laptop without having internet access. The physical presence of professors and teaching assistants also make students less likely to stray, for fear of being caught and reprimanded. With an online school, a majority of students are taking lessons at home, on a personal computer. This allows for distraction in the form of the internet, television sets, music, family members, pets, and food. Even students who head to internet cafes or libraries to access their classes find themselves surrounded by people with other tasks, possibly making noise and leading to difficulty concentrating. A classroom looks, feels, and acts as a learning environment, shutting out distractions and aiding students in focusing on the material.
The physical presence of a professor and other students also allows bonds to be created, an important aspect of class for students who need help or like to study with partners. Getting to know the professor makes it more likely that a confused student will seek his or her help if necessary. Bonding with classmates allows for study groups to form and friendships to be made, which can last well beyond the college years.
While online classes may be a less expensive way to complete general courses, traditional schools are the superior approach.