Cover Stories

Online Learning: The Pros and Cons

by Alexandra Griffin

Zoom class

 Online learning has been very stressful and hard to handle for the younger generation today because there is no social contact between people in the zoom classrooms and there is a lack of motivation. If there’s no motivation, no work will get done. If there’s no kind of social contact, kids are going to go crazy. The younger generation is not supposed to be in all the time they are supposed to be out, getting ready to spread their wings. Instead, COVID hits and everything goes from in person to online schooling. 

This is what students today think about online learning; do they like it? Do they not? What are their thoughts on being online then in a classroom? Most people said that online learning can be difficult. “Last semester I think we all had a really hard time switching from in-person to online classes. None of us really knew this was going to happen and both students and staff were not prepared for the change. I was taking four classes at the time and two of my professors had never done online class before. With no knowledge of zoom or blackboard at the time the professors decided to take a route that was very difficult for the students. They would send us emails once a week and we would email the work back by the end of the week. Many messages were lost in the mail and shared documents were used as discussion boards that anyone with access could edit and mistakenly delete others work,” a fellow student said. 

We had a lot of difficulties last year and I think it’s better this year but since we have a whole new program for SMCC it can be hard to figure out what to do. As it is getting in touch with our teachers now. 

“Getting in touch with my teachers is hard and frustrating because you need help,” a fellow Seawolf said.

“It’s really difficult to stay motivated when I feel as if I’m teaching myself in certain classes. Especially, when I’m paying to teach myself,”  said Joseah Parr of Ferris State University in Michigan.

“Not being able to ask questions all the time. It’s also difficult because you have to adapt to different teaching styles, just like any other class,” a student said.  

“The biggest challenge for me when it comes to online classes is that it lacks the interpersonal classroom environment between teachers and students,” said Will Peterlein of Baxter Academy for Technology and Science in Portland. “I work best when I have direct guidance and in person it’s easier to meet with them after class to talk rather than email them.” 

“Keeping engaged and focused. It is so easy to start doing other things or just glaze over in an online class,” said Andrew Gianattasio of  San Antonio College in Texas.

Amber Van Oever, who attends The Hague University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands said, “Having a good wifi connection, background noises, and not finding a moment for asking questions to your teacher alone.” 

Lastly, “Some of the challenges are that it’s hard to do my work at home because there’s a lot of distraction,” said Kimberly Valencia of Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York.  

The biggest interview question that got a lot responses from was about motivation and social contact. One person said “Hanging out with friends (we’re not in lock down, we are allowed to hang out with a group of maximum of 4 people) or playing online games on discord,” said Amber Van Over.

Another reply was, “I live on campus at my school so I have my three roommates and we’re all really close from last year,” Andrew Gianattasio said. 

“I know for a lot of students that have lost a majority of their motivation, but for me I don’t really feel a huge difference,” Will Peterlein said. “ I’ve always been a self-driven student and I’m passionate about the things I’m learning and the grades I need.”  

“My motivation is probably more right now because everything is so uncertain and not being sure of what’s coming next. It just scares you because you don’t know what you want to be. I wanted to be a concert photographer and clearly that’s not going to happen right now and it just puts everything into perspective,” a student says. 

“It sucks. I tell myself I need to do it, so I have to. This is what I want to do for a career; I want to to make movies and win Oscars. I want to do all of that but in order for me to get where I need to be I need to do my homework. I think I had a lot more motivation when I was at the campus because I had all of these people around me. It was a nice feeling to have that because we could help each other out. Now, when you’re in zoom class you get onto the class and when you leave the class, you’re alone. But except for me, I have a two and a half year old running around, going crazy,” a fellow Seawolf said. 

Another question that everyone seemed to want to talk about was missing something about their school days in person. Most of us miss a lot and everyone will because we are human and we need to be out and about. “I do miss the structure of in person classes; I found it easier for self-discipline, being able to get out of the house, escape, and get lost in my work. I used to also be able to go to the library or other places on campus with no distractions and take about 15 minutes to get started on my homework. Now with being at my house all the time I find that it can take me an hour or two to really get focused and get my head in the game,” a student said. 

“The biggest thing I miss about normal school is the opportunity for one on one attention with the teachers. Being interpersonal in that regard has always really helped me stay engaged, and without that easy communication it makes things tougher” Will Peterlein said. 

“I miss being able to walk out of my door without a mask” Andrew Gianattasio remarked. 

“I miss going to campus; seeing the ocean and breathing the air,” two students said. 

And, “I miss chatting with my classmates,” Amber Van Oever says. 

See, a lot of people all around the world miss being in person and it’s very mutual but even so there is still some good in online learning. “I get to be home and not go to school. I can do my work whenever I feel like it,” said Kimberly Valencia. 

Another said that was very positive about online learning was – “Online learning, for me, has really taught me a lot about responsibility and self-discipline,” Will Peterlein said, “that’s a skill more people should practice and this is a good way to allow that kind of growth. It can also be good for people to escape the school environment with less bullying and less direct negative attention toward certain students. I also find it really motivating to know that even in the worst case scenario our communication makes things tougher.” 

“Not having to get ready and staying in pj’s,” Amber Van Oever said.  

“It’s slightly easier to work with zoom meetings as they only take a few hours and it’s just less of a hassle for me,” Joseah Parr said. 

“Less work feels like less class, and it can be done from anywhere,” Andrew Gianattasio said. 

“You can do things on your own time, you’re able to email or text your professors which gives us closer contact to our professors and it’s more online base work for me. It’s like posting on social media as if it was a regular class,” a fellow Seawolf said. 

“This second semester for me has started out tremendously better, with half of the semester under our belt and the summer to come. We were prepared for this year to come, but not like last year,” a student said. 

Oh, and by the way, the best positive for us shy ones is that we can freely look at all of our classmates without them knowing. 

Categories: Cover Stories

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