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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Online learning is not for me

Man+on+Laptop
Creative Commons
Man on Laptop

The first day jitters, the headache of parking on campus and the friendly conversation you have with one of your new classmates on the first day of school are all things I took for granted. In the era of online learning, that friendly conversation has been traded in for black screens and muted audio. 

Throughout the course of my college career, I have avoided taking online classes at all costs. I often joked that I would choose to graduate late rather than voluntarily take one. This semester, with only about 50 percent of classes being offered in person, taking online courses was unavoidable. 

College campuses are a hub for socialization, as lifelong connections are often forged in a college classroom. I myself have been lucky enough to form some of those same connections. This semester, sadly, I have not had the opportunity to make any lasting relationships because instead of sitting in a classroom, I’m sitting at home staring at a screen. 

But my biggest issue with online learning is the lack of conversation. For three out of my five classes, lectures are uploaded online for students to view. This makes it convenient for the professor, but as a student, I could not stress enough how aggravating this is. Oftentimes I have a question about something in a recorded lecture. However, since there is no in-person component, I cannot ask that question in real time. If the lecture were in person, or at least in real time via Zoom, being confused on a topic could be avoided altogether by being able to ask a clarifying question. 

To say Socrates is rolling in his grave is an understatement, as the decline of exchanging ideas is one of the biggest downfalls of online education, where it is much more difficult to openly express or debate an idea. In a classroom setting, you are more likely to be called upon to defend a thought, forced to engage with your peers and challenge yourself on a daily basis. In an online setting, however, should you not feel up to that task, you can mute your microphone and turn off your camera without a worry of facing any such predicament. 
Another negative aspect of online learning stems from the lack of interaction with classmates and professors. There have been many times where I have been confused on a subject in class. A lot of the time, a simple remedy would be consulting with one of my peers right after class or even during discussion periods during class. Interacting with someone in class often led to a meaningful conversation or a lifelong friendship. All this has been taken away due to online learning. You can’t have those conversations about your day or gripe over a quiz grade if you’re watching a recorded lesson or staring at a screen during a Zoom lecture.  

Furthermore, online learning has certainly taken a toll on my mental state. If you are anything like me, structure, something that does not come with online learning, is important. Trying to juggle classes and extracurricular activities can be a challenge enough on its own. In the world of online learning, this challenge has intensified. 

On the contrary, some people have taken to online learning quite well since there are many strengths to distance education. I know many people who prefer the lack of structure. For example, the lack of a strict time allotted for a class is a good thing for an individual who works full time and needs a flexible schedule. 

Overall, online learning has many pros and cons. What must be understood is that those pros and cons are fluid based on your learning style and your personality type. For a person like me, who craves in-person interaction and a more hands-on approach, online learning is not an attractive option. On the flip side, a more introverted person may take well to it. 

The transition to online school this semester has made me appreciate in-person classes more than ever. Never again will I take for granted the long walk from my car to class or that one kid who asks a question that makes the whole class roll their eyes. I look forward to the day when I can experience these minor moments again with major appreciation. 

Sam Somogye is a political science senior and opinion writer for The Battalion.

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