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Hi! Has anyone out there done the Online Padi Course? How long did it take? I want to do the coursework online, poolwork at a local SPort Chalet, then do my dives in Mexico (Mayan Riviera Coast). Thanks!
What's the rush? Do you think doing a quickie course like that will really get your prepared for being under water with your life dependent on the tank of air on your back and the regulator in your mouth?
Seriously, take your time and take a good course that will provide you with thorough training that will leave you prepared for diving without an instructor or divemaster once you're done with it.
The online course allows you to complete the book work before hand, but you will still have to take the final exam at the local shop. And the material in the book is very basic. If you have a decent instructor, he/she will go over the stuff in more detail and provide you with better information. I have all my students complete the book work before class and we spend a few hours before and in between dives going over the material. On, and BTW, it's usually a little more expensive to do the online course because most shops haven't dropped their prices.
As for Sport Chalet, I've seen their courses and I'm not impressed. You will be in a pool with a dozen other students (unless you're lucky and they have low enrollment that month) and you won't get a whole lot of one on one time with the instructor if any at all.
You have many other options available to you. There are quite a few independent instructors (instructors not affiliated with a shop) that will provide you with a much better course than your current plan will give you. Cutting corners isn't a good thing in any situation.
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So now hear another view..
The online course can work for you.
It really is no different than completing a course the traditional way.
Example:Traditional method: you go to a dive center purchase a crewpack(learing materals) go home watch a video,read a book,complete you knowledge reviews.Now you show up for class,instructor gives a presentation ,go over knowledge reviews,short 10 question quiz,then reviews quiz.
Example with online: You go on line ,pay for access and watch same video,read same material,do the same knowledge reviews(print them out) as in the crew pack,but only on computer instead of paper book.You have access to learning materials for a set time after course is completed for review at your leisure.
Now you go to class,instructor does a presentation ,go over knowledge reviews,same 10 question quiz,reviews quiz..All confined pool work stays the same..All ow training dives stay the same.
With either option still have final exam-50 question multiple choice format .
The online option is just that,an option ..it affords flexibility to people who may be short on time to go to facility and purchase learning materials and or those who feel more at ease using computer instead of traditional books.Still have to purchase a log book and RDP tables at facility.
It cost a little bit more this way online,but for some people its the convience that they realise that they are paying for.
I took it. It's not a quickie course that rushes through. Basically, it replaces the book work and instructor classroom work. You still have pool training and your checkout dives. I feel that I got as much out of doing eLearning as people did from their classroom-based bookwork. You still have the same knowledge reviews and the same final test. The reason I did eLearning is because my schedule (late Saturday night gigs) kept me from doing the early Sunday morning classroom portion of the course, but I did my pool work with the class.
I found the eLearning to be very thorough. I didn't have the PADi OW book, but I did have an SSI book from when I was going to take the course with an SSI school. It covered all of the same material, and had videos, online audio explanations, etc. Each section had various knowledge reviews to make sure you understood the material.
This is much different than the weekend courses that try to shove all of the stuff into two weekend pool sessions, and I'm wondering if the responding posters had this in mind when answering. I personally had five weekly pool sessions in my OW course, the same as everyone else taking the course. Out of 10 people in the original course, six dropped out, and I did fine on my OW dives that I did in Cancun. Plus I did well on the final test that everyone took after the last pool session (although I took it before the first pool session). The instructor can answer questions at the pool if you don't understand something and the confined dives actually re-address many of the book/online concepts, so you aren't missing a thing, IMO, except for hearing everyone else's questions in the classroom setting.
Please let me know if you have any other questions.
I think if one was short on time, but have lots of money to spend, the online course is a good way to save time. As long as you are willing to pay the instructor extra money, for the equivalent EXTRA amount of time in the pool for private lessons. I would want to instructor to help trim me out with weight, get weight calculation down to the ounce, and work on ascent and descent skills. Essentially, doing all that is done in the so called peak performance buoyancy class.... before you do your openwater dives.
The on-line course is not a "quickie" course. It covers everything that is covered in the classroom. I think what Rob was concerned about is the quality of time the op gets once he/she completes the course work on line.
Everyone that has come to me once completing their on-line training has been well-prepared. They are serious about their training and everyone has done well that I have trained.
azscuba...your pool time is your opportunity to ask questions, and learn the skills you will need to get certified when you get to Mexico. Find an instructor that will work with you, understands ELearning and will be able to answer all your questions. Don't short-cut your pool training.
Some people will learn better online and some will learn better from a class. I don't see anything wrong with doing the academic stuff online if it works for someone. As far as the poolwork, definitely see how many people will be in your class and how much time there will be, and compare it against other options in your area. It may be a cheap class (seems I've heard that SC often offers cheap classes?) but that shouldn't be the first priority in picking a class. Find out who the instructor is and see if anyone here can give you some feedback.
The problem I have with the PADI online course is that it's still the PADI course, which I feel is woefully inadequate in it's academic content. When I teach a PADI course I spend considerable time in the classroom filling in the gaps in knowledge that I think are there.
Neil...Which specific academic issues do you have with PADI's course? I'm not a PADI apologist by any means, but it would definitely be helpful to us who are certified through them to know what we're missing.
That said, I wonder how much someone could even take in at the basic OW level. I know that much of the academic stuff doesn't hit home until you get wet. So do you think information overload could set in before people even begin diving?
Personally, because I am interested in pursuing diving with gusto, I'm trying to read supplemental material, including the Certified Diver's Handbook and Diver Down, as well as this board.