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Distance Learning: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

It is official! Goodbye freshman year, goodbye Tally and hello online learning and Zoom lectures! With Florida State closing the rest of the Spring semester, students have moved to online distance learning and it’s interesting, to say the least. In the first week alone, we’ve had video mishaps, audio malfunctions and lost recordings. I personally may or may not have slept past a lecture or three and forgot to turn my mic off while my baby sister sings to me her ABC’s, but hey, we’re learning as we go, and we can only go up from here. Due to this being an unprecedented event, it is only right to examine the good and the bad of distance learning and its’ potential implication on the future.


The Good


With this move to online distance learning, we now play a more prominent role in our course load. Some teachers have opened up all their lessons until the end of the semester, permitting students to work at their own pace. Having some of my teachers do this allowed me to complete all of their work in one sitting, so now I can focus on my other classes. 

Also, being able to go to class from the comfort of your own home has been a bonus to those that missed home or even those that were just too lazy to get up and go to class (I know I was somedays). It has also been beneficial to some students with anxiety. Without the big lecture halls, they now feel more comfortable to ask questions and participate in discussions.  

Another benefit of online distance learning is being able to go back and re-watch your lectures from class. A lot of times, I can find myself drifting in class or miswriting something in my notes, but I can’t just turn back time to get what I missed. Now with Zoom lectures, teachers or students can record their lectures and office hours, which is highly beneficial when it comes time to study for an upcoming exam or when you need help completing your homework.

The Bad

girl stressed at computer

Although distance learning has its benefits, there are also some downfalls. Since this is a new method of teaching/learning, there have been plenty of technical difficulties when it comes to visual and audio quality. Sometimes in my lectures, I can barely hear or see what the professors are writing on their boards, which only makes it harder to understand the lesson. 

Also, while being at home can be comfortable, it can make studying and doing homework harder. Many of us have siblings and pets, so finding a quiet place to work while at home can be difficult. We’re no longer in areas where we have access to quiet study rooms like Dirac and Strozier or where we can get free tutoring like at ACE or CARE, especially while under quarantine. 

Another disadvantage of distance learning is the additional stress placed on the teachers and students. Since the teachers are also trying to figure out how to restructure their lesson plans, they’re put under a lot of stress. Along with that, the students are also trying to figure out how the class will be changed, and they’re worried about their grade and how exams/quizzes will be administered, etc. Many times, this week, I felt like I was playing catch-up with all the assignments that were given and trying to understand how my classes work with Zoom and everything else. It quickly became overwhelming and frustrating, but I soon realized I wasn’t alone, and some of my teachers were open to discuss how we can do better the following week. 

During times like this, we must remind ourselves that the teachers are experiencing it alongside us, so they might not have all the answers right now. Also, we need to give ourselves some slack because it’s new to all of us, and we might not get it in the first week, but it’s a learning process.

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Jahnaezha McFadden is a first-year Biological Science major at Florida State University. She has a passion for advocacy, journalism, and science. She enjoys binging TV shows on Netflix and Hulu and you can typically find her crying over a fictional breakup or death.
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