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For the past semester and a half, we’ve all been stuck in online classes due to the coronavirus pandemic, and if you’re anything like me — you’ve developed some opinions about them. Online learning isn’t all bad though, here are some pros and cons to our virtual education:

Cons:

Discussion posts
To make up for the lack of class meetings in asynchronous classes, professors assign weekly discussion posts. However, in my opinion, weekly discussion posts aren’t good replacements for real in class discussions.

When discussing in class, you don’t have to worry about being super grammatically correct and can just speak honestly about whatever you’re thinking. In addition to that barrier caused by writing and grammar mindfulness, a lot of posts just feel like busywork, so students don’t want to do it.

Expectations as if there was no pandemic
Some teachers have been very understanding through online learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Some teachers are assigning even more work to make up for missing class time as though that helps anyone.

Some teachers are unfortunately just piling on busy work which definitely does not help kids who are already suffering from burnout. Also, some aren’t understanding of bad internet connections and late assignments either. There’s a pandemic which is affecting all of us in very different ways, and teachers should definitely be more understanding of student shortcomings. 

Harder to make friends
It’s hard to make friends in general but online classes are definitely not helping. It feels so much less natural to try to strike up a conversation with someone on Groupme than it does in real life. Especially for freshmen, I imagine this is very difficult. Talking with classmates is also just more fun in general. In online classes, we typically only listen to the teachers. It’s definitely been harder this semester to interact with classmates.

Pros:

Teachers can be more understanding
Although some teachers haven’t been, I’ve noticed many teachers being very forgiving in terms of things like where to turn in assignments and grace periods. This style of learning is different to all of us, including teachers, so it’s nice to see our professors understand where we’re coming from when we ask for extensions and whatnot.

A lot of the platforms we’re using are new to us as well, so sometimes people don’t turn in assignments correctly. Some teachers haven’t been forgiving but many have, and I hope that leniency continues even after quarantine. 

No commute
This is an obvious one. With online classes, commuters don’t have to worry about being in the car super early in the day to beat traffic. They also don’t have to worry about getting gas for their car which I’m sure that people commuting an hour each way, as many commuters do, have to worry about. Even if you live on campus, you don’t have to worry about long walks to class. Definitely, we can be more relaxed in our classes now. 

Optimized learning experience
One of the great things about online lectures is that they are often recorded, so you can go back and listen to them again to review material. Sometimes professors can talk really fast, and it’s hard to write down what they’re saying let alone write what’s also on the board.

With recorded lectures, you’re able to review what you need to without even having to ask a question. You can also speed up lectures too, which is nice if a professor is droning on and on and losing your attention. 

So, online semesters haven’t been all bad. I of course hope to be back in classes in-person when it’s safe again, but in the meantime, we can at least enjoy the little things in our online classes.

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