• Flux Magazine

"Hits and Misses of Online Learning" by Emma Landry

After months of online learning, I’ve started to get into the groove of things. I’ve finally figured out how to manage my time, which was my biggest hurdle, and I’ve actually started to see some positives in this new way of learning. Online learning has been happening for quite some time, but not on this scale, and not in these ways. After taking the time to learn how to navigate this new territory, I’ve sort of started to warm up to it. It’s not all good, but I’ve come to notice that it's also not all bad.

First, the bad. I tend to learn best when I’m in a classroom and held accountable. That is to say, online learning allows for a little too much freedom for me. I’ve slowly learned time management, but when this whole thing started, I was absolutely drowning in work. Another negative: some of my teachers have been less than supportive. I have one professor that I had to email four times about my two final papers (both of which were over five pages), and every time he got back to me, he just said the instructions were available online. They were not, and I eventually got a response, but it took about a week for that to happen. Along with that, it is extremely difficult to focus on a lecture when I’m not in class. Even if I’m in a quiet room by myself, I, and many others, still struggle to hold our focus, which results in us not getting the most out of our reading. And, of course, as I stated in a previous article, this isn’t the education I paid for and I’m not receiving any sort of refund. 

Now for the positives. I just gave a presentation on Zoom and it was absolutely the best and most stress-free presentation I’ve ever given. Using Zoom instead of having to stand in front of a classroom and present in person helped alleviate a lot of the anxiety that typically comes with presenting. I was able to just talk like I was practicing instead of stuttering and stumbling over my words or forgetting what I was going to say. Zoom presentations are definitely a win for online learning.

Now that I’ve learned how to manage my time and stop procrastinating so much, the flexibility of online learning has been really nice. I’ve been able to get ahead on a lot of my assignments which makes me submit higher quality work and makes me less stressed. It’s been nice to be able to do work so far ahead of time and prioritize how I want instead of having to rush to do things that were assigned on Tuesday and due on Thursday. The flexibility of this has become a plus for me, even though it didn’t start off that way.

Personally, I don’t believe that online learning is necessarily better than traditional learning, but times are changing and technology is becoming more impressive, so I feel that it would be beneficial to start adopting some of this technology into our traditional classrooms. Technology isn’t going anywhere and will continue to advance, so integrating it into our classrooms could be a natural, seemless way to teach certain technologies to younger generations. A hybrid of in-person and online learning may not be a bad idea as we move into the future.

The issue with online learning is that it is contingent upon teachers that are happy and willing to help and are at least decently well-versed in the technology they’re using. My biggest struggles and frustrations have stemmed from teachers that took this as an opportunity to stop teaching or have been less responsive in their emails. Teachers were thrown into this scenario and some were not equipped to handle this, so if online learning is to continue into the fall semester, teachers need to receive adequate training and learn how to handle online learning and all of the trials and tribulations that come with it.

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