The Pros and Cons of an Online Semester

The fall semester of 2020 was like no other. Having spent two semesters in college before the fall, I had figured out my groove on campus, with studying, and just about everything else. Well, COVID-19 happened, and that was all for naught. COVID kicked my groove ‘good-bye.’ In the blink of an eye, in-person classes were canceled, and the entire university went completely online. As registration for the spring semester of 2021 grew closer, both remote and in-person classes were announced to be options during registration. I had to sit down and think about which one to choose. Both in-person and online courses have their pros and cons, and here is why I chose online. 

 

Online/Remote PROS:

#1 Safety!

First and foremost, safety! Going remote for the semester is no doubt the safest option. Your risk of exposure is minimal with the remote option. You won’t be gathering with other people in an enclosed space for over an hour, and you won’t have to wear a mask for most of your day. This is the main reason I chose to remain online.  

#2 Relaxed Schedule

With online classes, your schedule is bound to be more relaxed as some courses will be completely online through a portal like ecampus or canvas. Albeit, some of your classes will most likely still meet by scheduled zoom, but at least you can be in bed! The reasons your schedule will be lax are that you don’t have to rush in the morning to pick your outfit, put on makeup, or catch the bus. You can just wake up, grab your notebook and pen, and open zoom!

#3 More Time to Yourself

Now, I know that not everyone is the same. This world is populated by extroverts, introverts, and ambiverts. I, myself, am an ambivert. And I have to admit, it is very nice to grab some alone time, but it is also refreshing to talk to someone. Hopefully, if you are an extrovert going remote, you have a roommate(s) or are staying with your family. My sister and mom are both attending the same university as me. And the three of us are living in a cute, comfy apartment together. If you are an introvert, going remote would probably suit you quite well. 

#4 Less Stress

I’m all down for anything that brings me less stress, and this semester was way less stressful than my in-person semesters.  You don’t have the stress of making it to class on-time during rush hour or spending money on lunch in the campus cafeteria.  Also, all my finals this semester were open book!  That is a big plus.  My professors were also super understanding and ready to help me with any problem.  I know not everyone’s professors are understanding, but it may be worth the try. 

#5 Background Music

Okay, enough with the big-girl pros. Background music is one pro that is accompanied by pleasure. I don’t know about you, but sitting in a lecture hall listening to a professor lecture for a whole hour can be a little straining. Luckily, going remote allows me to play music in the background during the zoom. Just having a melody to bop my head helped me make it through the lectures. 

#6 Out of the Elements

This is another pro with pleasure. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE rainy days, but I don’t particularly enjoy walking across campus in the rain. With online classes, I get to sit inside with a cup of coffee and enjoy the rain on the window.

Now that I’ve stated some pros, let’s move on to the cons.

 

Online/Remote CONS:

#1 Feedback

Feedback in online courses is limited. With the remote option, you lose the face-to-face conversations with both your professor and classmates. Granted, there is GroupMe to communicate with your class. However, from personal experience, face-to-face conversing often yields more feedback and information. 

#2 Social Interaction

One other con of online classes is the lack of social interaction in an academic setting. In-person classes allow you to interact with your classmates and professor, albeit through masks and social distancing. Through the remote option, you do not get this interaction. 

 

There are other pros and cons to an online semester, but these are some that I have experienced personally. Although there are downsides to complete online learning, I am willing to work through the cons while keeping myself safe. Through self-determination and perseverance to learn, the option of a remote semester is a safe, reasonable approach to education during COVID-19.