Joys and Sorrows of Being Online

It feels like it has been forever since I have walked on campus. The feeling only grows wider as I will not be returning to campus this semester. Like many professors across Kutztown's campus, and other school campuses, they have chosen to move their classes to a virtual setting. All of my professors this semester have gone this same route. I, personally, am pleased with their decisions. I feel like there are many good reasons to have online classes. Here are three reasons I like online classes and one major reason I don't like them:

1 Staying healthy

Let's just get the obvious one out first. While quarantine for our area has been lifted, that does not mean that COVID-19 is gone. It is still relevant. We all must do our part to stay healthy and keep others safe. One such reason is to practice social distancing. Having classes online is the best for social distancing from your peers and professors. 

2 Online anyway

In our day and age, we all basically live online through social media. Many people find it easier (and calmer) to navigate the social waters online compared to in-person. 

3 Never leave the bed

Even if your classes require you to be live on Zoom with them at specific times, they never mention a specific place you have to physically be. A joy of online classes is never having to leave the comfort of your bed (unless for that cup of coffee). Also, with Zoom backgrounds, no one ever has to know you are still in bed! Even if your professors are against Zoom backgrounds, you can still create a physical background with a poster or tapestry.   

Missing out on physically being in class

I, personally, know there is a difference between virtual and physical class experiences. There is something genuine about sitting in a smelly, cold Lytle building. We’re able to introduce yourself to our classmates,say hi to friends before class starts, and ask a professor a question after class. Now, due to COVID-19 causing an increase in everyone's online presence, those things are taken from us. Yes, we get to stay in our own homes, message friends and email professors, but it's not all smiles for some people. 

Some of our classmates don't want to be home due to family issues. For them, being on campus is a blessing. 

Also, some of us have trouble learning through an online interface. Emailing professors and classmates doesn't always answer the questions that could be solved with physical communication. Being face-to-face means there is little friction between the speaker and the listener. However, emails (and even Zoom) lead to higher miscommunication. An email could get lost or failed to send. Zoom could kick someone off due to connection issues or suffer from technical difficulties. 

While technology has improved dramatically since the time many of us were kids, it still has its flaws. Having online classes can be convenient for many of us; it gives us more time to study, an easier way to get notes, and even keeps us safe. However, nothing will ever compare to human contact.