Online Learning: Yay or Nay?

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Each student has a different twist on their work space. This one uses a tv as a second monitor.

Kate Rosson, Editorial Board

Everyone can agree that change is difficult. Now imagine that you’re a student at Arlington High School. The sports you wanted to participate in may not happen. The school dances that give you something to look forward to every once in a while don’t exist. That PSAT or SAT you studied so hard for you can’t take. That college trip you planned is going to have to wait. Those solid study habits you developed are down the drain because your bedroom is now where you work.

 

In this situation, optimists say we are going back next semester but here’s the truth. The Snohomish Health District said, “In the last three weeks, Snohomish County has seen an increase from about 42 COVID cases per 100,000 population to 72 cases per 100,000.” With these numbers, we are not going back anytime soon.

 

As a student who has experienced online classes for almost 7 weeks now, I can confidently say online learning is not that great. Most students struggle to stay motivated even when going to school every day but now that they only see our teachers twice a week, motivation is lacking. 

 

This is especially present during all the work time that happens off of zoom. The online platform provides too much flexibility for students. They may have plenty of time to get work done but at home, it’s easy to let other things get in the way. Students can be “in class” and not actually paying attention or even at home. 

 

Another issue I find is with teacher interactions. When I receive an email with a score and a comment back about my work it feels aggressive and impersonal when that is never the intent of teachers. But because it is online it is difficult to tell people’s emotions or thoughts. This is also a struggle of teachers. Because it is no longer the first week of school in my classes less than half of the students’ cameras are on and even less of those people bother to participate. 

 

Yet I don’t blame them. Online learning has taken away a space that students were able to see their friends and receive constant support from teachers and staff. Without this, it is difficult to adjust to something completely new from the classic in-person classroom experience students now reminisce about.

 

However, classes do have some advantages. First, the large periods of asynchronous learning time allow students ample time to work at their own pace, while still having the ability to check back in with their teachers as needed. Also, online learning allows students to have the ability to learn from wherever they are. This gives students the opportunity to be comfortable in their workspace and work from wherever they may be. But overall these small victories do not make up for online learning’s discrepancies.

 

In this current situation, online learning is what’s safest for everyone until there’s no longer a risk. So in the meantime enjoy having a blanket in your lap while you work and the ability to go the bathroom in the comfort of your own home.