IELTS Writing Task 2: Online Education

Universities offer an online course for students. Do you think its a positive or negative development for students?

Learning variants

People are divided in their opinion regarding whether online courses serve for the betterment of students or,on the contrary, for the worse (1). As far as I am concerned, I strongly support the view pointing at the bright side of the argument,although there are some negative aspects. Nevertheless, my reasons will be explained in the following paragraphs.

First and foremost, the availability of online courses definitely contributes to the academic life of students with disabilities. Lacking sight or hearing should not represent a barrier towards learning and thus pursuing a university (2). Moreover, learners who can not afford public transport due to poor financial stability can also be helped through this initiative. In other words, long distances no longer pose a criterion of selection between further and secondary education (3). This online course levels the discrepancy between the opportunities a wealthy child would benefit from in comparison with a not so fortunate one. Another advantage of online teaching is the unique possibility of recording lessons for different purposes (4). For instance,one can record a difficult presentation in order to recap and fully understand all the information provided.

On the down side, hackers have become too skilled not to access these courses mainly designed to reach university students. Consequently, they might redistribute all data in exchange of a well defined sum of money, which according to the law represents an infringement of online policies (5). Furthermore, students can now skip classes or simply not attend them, because they opine it is more convenient to pay attention to the lecture from home (6). As a result, this approach will lead to decreasing satisfaction about social life and joining an entourage .

Considering the aforementioned, I still support online courses and I would certainly recommend them to any existing university or college. The advantages brought by this brilliant idea far outweigh the disadvantages.

The commentaries are marked in brackets with number (*). The numbered commentaries are found below. The part in italics is taken from the text, the word underlined is the suggested correction. Words in (brackets) are the suggested addition to the original phrase or sentence.

  1. People are divided in their opinion regarding whether online courses serve for the betterment of students or,on the contrary, for the worsening (?)— I would advise sticking to similar parts of speech in the case of ‘or’ conjunction. However, even after correction the second part of the sentence sounds rather awkward. Consider making the second part of the sentence clearer by using simpler constructions:
    — … whether online courses serve to improve students’ experience or, on the contrary, make it worse. The focus here shifts towards what students’ themselves feel about the change, rather than the originally intended idea of other people’s opinion about the online course.
    — … whether online courses (serve to) produce better students or, on the contrary, fail to do so — ending the sentence with ‘worse ones’ wouldn’t look or sound good, so I opted for a slightly different phrase.
  2. Lacking sight or hearing should not represent a barrier towards learning and thus pursuing a university (degree) — ‘To pursue a university’ doesn’t convey the meaning of studying for a degree.
  3. In other words, long distances no longer are a criterion of selection between further and secondary education — ‘pose’ and ‘criterion’ do not collocate. The verb ‘pose’ is usually used with something that presents a challenge, problem, risk or something else with a negative connotation (but not everything!).
  4. Another advantage of online learning is the unique possibility of recording lessons for different purposes. — The reason I preferred ‘learning’ here is the sentence that follows this one, which develops the idea of advantages from a student’s point of view.
  5. Consequently, they might redistribute all data in exchange for a well-defined sum of money, which according to the law represents an infringement of online policies — well-defined is a compound adjective and should be hyphenated.
  6. Furthermore, students could now skip classes or simply not attend them, because they (would ) opine that it is more convenient to pay attention to the lecture from home. — Remember that we are talking about a hypothetical situation, so a use of second conditional is necessary.

A good piece of writing. All of the points were developed to sufficient extent, the structure is well-defined and. Lexical and grammar aspects are of adequate level, albeit with occasional mistakes that nonetheless do not get in the way of understanding.