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Online learning has become a popular option for many universities as the United States deals with the COVID-19 crisis. Some schools opened to in-person learning only to shut down and revert to online after many students contracted the virus. While there are many safety advantages to learning online there are plenty of disadvantages for students who are used to in-person learning.

Teaching

It’s just not the same. Typically, during a lecture, you could have an open discussion with your professor. Now that’s not necessarily the case unless you have classes that meet periodically on video apps on Zoom. It appears that in some of the classes, students are teaching themselves the material now because classes are asynchronous. Some students aren’t even learning the material, just doing assignments to get their grades.

Loss of Personal Connection

There is a genuine loss of personal connections when school is online. You don’t get to approach your professor in class to ask a question or ask them about their day. You don’t get to tell the person sitting next to you that you like their phone case. There aren’t many ways to form a personal connection within the online setting, at least one that feels genuine. This may be stifling for juniors and seniors who are looking to make connections with professors and network for graduate school or future job opportunities.

Environment

Everyone’s environment at home is different. Some people live in a house with loud people and pets. Others live in a house where they may have to share a room or don’t have a set place to do their schoolwork. Some people don’t have houses to live in and the dorms were their only option.

The environments people work in are linked to how well they do which is typically why professors and professionals say find a quiet place to work like the library. Some people simply can’t focus at home and it’s not easy to just go to the library anymore with so many of them still closed due to COVID-19.

Price

A lot of schools have chosen to cut their prices because of reverting to online lessens the resources that a university uses for in-person classes. Some schools have not. For example, George Mason University actually raised tuition during this period for its students. Sometimes the price doesn’t seem worth it when the resources are no longer the same or as easily accessible as when everything was in person.

Scheduling

For some students whose classes are purely asynchronous, scheduling can be hard. It’s not easy to create a rigid schedule for classes and actually stick to it because online classes give students the illusion that they have more free time. That’s not the case at all, if anything, more time will probably be put into classes now than when we were all in person if you’re taking a full course load.

Related Article: How to Cultivate A Personal Schedule for Distance Learning

I, myself, have found online learning to be a little bit of a challenge. I had to make a decision I’ve never made in the history of my college career; whether or not to drop a class I felt I couldn’t handle in this environment. I ended up dropping it and felt so much relief. Make sure that you’re aware of your strengths and weaknesses while learning online and that you’re taking care of yourself! We’ve got this, collegiettes!

Zeairah Webb

George Mason University '22

Zeairah is a senior at George Mason University. She spends most of her time reading, doing homework, and watching Netflix. Her favorite color is yellow and her favorite animals are dogs. She is double majoring in marketing and management with a minor in journalism with hopes of one day studying intellectual property law. She aspires to be many things such as a legal consultant/attorney, a creative director for Disney, or a travel/lifestyle writer for a magazine.
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