Covid-19 and the Impacts of Online Learning

The COVID-19 pandemic has considerably changed many aspects of our lives, including our thoughts, behavior, social life, technology, and school. One of the most apparent changes has been an increased dependence on technology for meetings and gatherings to comply with social distancing restrictions. During the pandemic, online collaboration platforms have replaced physical classes for many students. To continue education, these students have had to leverage various applications (i.e. Zoom and Brightspace) to enable their transition to an online environment. This affected my education by forcing me to adapt to new settings with which I was not familiar. Some benefits of online learning for me have been the increased convenience and flexibility. Learning can be done anytime and anywhere, and I can manage study time around my own circumstances. Course material can also be easily revisited several times to ensure that I have understood the content fully. However, the disadvantages of online learning have been far greater for me. Online learning has required greater self-discipline and time management skills than would have been required for in-person learning.  The online environment has diminished social interaction, and the lack of human interaction has led to a lack of engagement in class.

While online learning can be a great tool that provides an engaging and interactive learning space, adequate support needs to be provided so that all students and learning styles can be accommodated. Although offering online-only classes was necessary, returning back to in-person classes would be far more comfortable. Especially for me, a person of traditional college age who had an expectation of what their college experience was going to be, it is difficult to think about missing out on the more enriching experience that would have been only possible in person. Logging onto virtual collaboration platforms for 15 hours a week for lectures or discussion groups does not comport with how others described the college experience. To better succeed in online learning, I’ve learned to establish routines and stick to them as much as possible. While crises will arise, it is much more productive to follow routines most of the time. For most people, creating and following a routine allows them to more efficiently accomplish tasks of the day.