Another Online semester, a tragedy or blessing in disguise |Photo By Pixabay
By Emiree Campbell
The news of CUNY’s Fall 2020 semester being conducted through distance learning, I know for most including myself, was devastating news–but it’s for the best. It is better to be safe than sorry.
For some, distance learning has easily become the most favorable choice of learning because they are able to decide what they want to learn, when they want to learn it, and set their own pace. Others may continuously struggle to learn and adjust to this new online classroom feature. Research says that there are several factors that affect a student’s ability to study online. Some of those being physical interaction, self motivation, applied learning and analytical skills.
Here are some pros and cons of having a semester conducted online. (Hopefully after reading you will know whether you are for or against another online semester of distance learning.)
The Cons of Another Online Semester
There is no physical interaction between teachers and students. Some students need that face-to-face and one-on-one time. Although you can still have online meetings with the use of your webcam or camera, it is simply not the same. Recent studies suggest that when this physical connection is gone,students in turn lose focus. In such circumstances distance learning is not ideal for students who need to be in a physical or tangible classroom setting.
In distance learning students can’t meet in the classroom, they are told to stay home. Which in turn brings about feelings of isolation. The same interactions you once associated with school are now gone, you cannot converse or be with your colleagues as you once did. You cannot interact with your educators directly anymore. You begin to lose all motivation, being that all your motivational factors are gone. Many students including myself are still adapting to this change.
There are a lot of outside factors that make distance learning unpleasant too. For example technological problems, students have a lot of issues with the internet, programs, and certain softwares. This makes it extremely hard to access your courses. This can be extremely frustrating and although the bug gets fixed it is only a matter of time before something else crashes down.
Another con of online learning is that it does not contribute to the development of oral skills and social interactions, the courses do not enable oral communication unless the program is synchronous, and students are asked to participate. Also, this indirectly ties in with time management. Time management skills are everything. You don’t have a teacher or classmate continuously reminding you of any assignments. So it is important to remember what is due and complete it in a timely fashion. You need these self guiding skills in this new feature of learning.
The Pros of Another Online Semester
Courses are conducted online so you no longer have to worry about your long and tiring commute to campus. This frees your mind of stress and anxiety altogether. Just think about it– you don’t have to worry about making it to class on time. You have more time and energy for yourself. Students can enjoy classes from the comfort of their bedrooms or dining room tables.
You have room for flexibility. You are able to study at your own pace. Students can complete their assignments at any specific time which fits best into their busy schedules. Another online semester also makes it easier and possible for one to resume working their previous full time or part time jobs. You can even join a sport (if it’s available) or other commitments you never once had time for. Another online semester is easier on the pockets. If you are a student that used to pay an on campus fee you no longer have to, that is more money in your pocket. For instance your parking fee is history now. You also don’t have to worry about bus or train fares or the expenses you had to pay towards your school’s faculty such as the technology and consolidated services fee. However, the biggest pro of all is that you can potentially remain safe and free from contracting the coronavirus from the comfort of your home, all while being able to pursue your college degree.
Students who are responsible, self-driven, and goal oriented may lean towards another online semester with open arms. While students who are social and need a structured learning environment with face-to-face interaction cannot wait for the traditional learning system to return. At the end of the day, we are all in this together, so let us make the best out of whatever is thrown our way.