A New College Experience: Plymouth students and their takes on the pros and cons of online learning

By: Liam Malik Pelosky, Features Editor

lmp1044@plymouth.edu

The switch to online learning has made this semester at Plymouth State University one like no other. Some of our best and brightest have found themselves sidelined at home, unable to physically partake in all the college experience has to offer. Many other students have made it back to campus, only to find themselves struggling to adjust to a very new college life. However even amidst all the growing pains, students still talked hopefully and honestly about the growth and change they see because of this switch to online learning, highlighting both the pros and cons of their diverse online learning experiences.

One of the first students I talked to was Joshua Deese, a graphic design major and a member of the football team. For him, the upsides to online learning were as clear as the downsides. Missing an important class or lesson due to an emergency or practice was no longer an issue as everything is recorded now. But for those who learned better in a hands-on or in-person setting, “ I can definitely see online learning being a problem for them.” Deese says.

For another student, Tyishia Guadalupe, a social work major, a big con of online learning is having to rely on her own WIFI, which she says is not always the greatest. Something, she notes, that can make life exponentially tougher for those students unable to afford quality internetbut something that is also a problem for those living off-campus. A big pro of online learning was not something that would be immediately visible, according to Guadalupe, but more of a gradual benefit. By switching to online learning earlier than we would have otherwise, we can better adapt to a future that will be taking place increasingly online. Citing the not only continuing but growing presence of technology in all aspects of our daily lives as proof that “we had to change eventually.”

Jackie Gampel, a political science major, who is currently learning remotely from home as a part-time student, offered up a unique perspective when asked what she considered the pros and cons of online learning to be. For those who learn better with a flexible and less structured schedule online learning, especially asynchronous online learning, Gampel says it is a huge plus that allows you to really make your own schedule. Flip that on its head, however, and you have those who do not learn well in unstructured settings, struggling to portion out the work they’ve been given. This illustrates just how important it can be to have those synchronous zoom classes.

Of course, we can all hope that soon enough we will all be back in the classroom learningsides by side and this pandemic will subsist. But as some pointed out there might never be a point where we return to that with the way technology is advancing. It is best to start thinking about what works and what doesn’t now, to save ourselves quite a hefty headache in the future.