As we know, our world is in crisis. We are in a time where everything normal seems non-existent. Stores are closed, people are sick, and education is going completely online for the rest of the semester.
Being from the north, when I heard the news that students should not return to campus and that they should complete their work online, my heart shattered. Tuscaloosa has become my home, and I wanted nothing more than to finish my freshman year the same way I started: in a big lecture hall with all my friends and that one professor we all love. Saying this, many students are not as connected online as in person.
To start, it is easier to engage in person than through your computer. As much as a student may try, there will always be distractions right at their fingertips. When at home and not in a school setting, people tend to unwind and become lazy since they have the comfort of their own property. Online learning requires much more discipline and self-motivation to stay on task. Students have to take time to study and apply what they are learning without being in the setting of a classroom.
And, some classes just cannot be taught online. Science classes are a great example, as it is often necessary to complete a lab to understand the material. This is not possible to do in most homes, and it makes science extremely difficult for students to comprehend through a screen.
Face-to-face learning also lends a hand in organizing students and their studies. They are given the ability to interact with their instructors and other students. Yes, face-to-face learning still requires self-discipline, as students are still required to go to class and participate. However, even if students do not have much self-discipline, they still have the ability to simply go sit in lecture and listen to their instructor.
All in all, online learning makes it harder for students to learn as their traditional educational environment is pretty much gone. The workload is completely up to them to complete, and they are expected to act as if they are still in their normal classroom.
I find that most of the time on the University of Alabama campus, students complete their work in coffee shops, libraries or even outside in the fresh air. With the outbreak of the coronavirus, many students are unable to complete their work in these environments.
I am from New York – one of the many states during this time that are in lockdown. This means that any non-essential stores must be closed, including libraries and coffee shops. In addition, sitting outside is really not an option in snowy weather. I find that completing my work inside my household is extremely distracting and I believe it will further impact my grades for this semester.
Face-to-face learning is truly not an option at a time like this. As students, we will have to get used to online learning. We can only hope that once August begins, everything will be back to normal.