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The Ups & Downs of Online Learning

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

Remember when there was a choice between online classes and physical courses? Better yet, how about the choice between an actual campus or an all online presence. 2020 has forced every student to be behind a laptop, desktop, phone screen, or tablet thus connecting us all via bandwidth. There are both pros and cons to this form of learning, but which one outweighs the other?

The benefits of online learning with Rhode Island College are all things that can be easily identified. The first exceptional exploitation is the convenient flexibility. Online classes allow students to access their courses on the go from work or at home. Next, many students have noted that it has been easier to focus on their professors. There has been less class disruption. Carrying on to a students favorite benefit: the creation of one's own work environment. A student can truly get in the zone if their work space is a place that promotes intellect and the want to learn. This could mean at a desk in the corner of the house, or in bed with a breakfast tray table and the kids.

Several students have expressed interest in the Zoom interaction tools. These tools allow for students to have more profitability with their learning. Tools such as the raise hand, pause, speed up, and slow down tool prompt students to be less intimidated with speaking out in class discussions. As everyone begins to learn these technological skills, more opportunities and chances will arise for individuals who master the craft. This leaves the last two benefits of 24/7 access to material, and visible due dates through Blackboard. Benefit or curse, these last two make for no excuses when it comes to assignments and homework being done on time.

With all this good does come a little bad. Some classes are forced to be silent with their cameras off because the system will lag on the professor's end. This combined with the students that do not have the greatest wifi, makes learning certain subjects quite hard. Weak or unstable internet connection hasn’t been the only distraction for these online courses. Due to the convenient flexibility many classes have seen their peers’ children or pets, sometimes learning more about them than the class topic.

There are also classes that have little to no peer interaction. In this technological age it is hard to pay attention. As of 2015, the Microsoft Corporation’s study on the human attention span showed it to only last eight seconds. Therefore, attempting to stare at a screen for hours on end to days on end can become agonizing. This also adds to the intense nature of zero kinesthetic learning. The lack of a classroom and lab setting can throw off hands-on and visual learners. Zero kinesthetic learning makes demonstrations and lectures seem different now; however, is this the new normal? The only thing to keep in mind is that degree, because all in all that’s the ecstasy to this agony.

Photo credit: Grace Kimmell


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