Are online classes beneficial or do they affect college students?

Javier Santiago, Staff Reporter

PORTSMOUTH, OHIO- Being a college student can be very challenging. The new environment, the difficulty of classes, the leaving of home and many other factors may appear as obstacles to many upcoming students. Although some students adjust quickly, many of them go through tough times to get accustomed to a new lifestyle. Nevertheless, with the current pandemic, most colleges have changed their ways of conducting their classes. This means, that many students, including some of Shawnee State, must take their courses online. Online classes are courses conducted via the internet that create an alternative way for students to interact with their professors and classmates without going to the classroom and avoiding contact with others. Now the question is this, are online classes beneficial or affect the students that take it?

According to Tania Heap of the University of Illinois, there are many advantages of having an online program. Online programs can offer career advancements and create hobbies. This is due to the flexibility that the program can generate since in-person appointments are not required and students can expand their time to do extracurriculars. This being part of an internship or just exploring new activities, students can either generate an opportunity for a job offer or new skills that they can use in their near future. Another advantage is the relaxed environment. Many students face a lot of pressure when going into classrooms and facing their professors face-to-face, especially during examinations or presentations. An online class does not require those things, so for many students the fact that they are studying in a place where they feel confident and secure, can show improvements and better performances. Students can do their assignments and tests in a place and time of their convenience, letting them be more comfortable during the semester. Finally, online classes create self-discipline and responsibility among students. By not having scheduled times to attend the classroom and some assignments having conflicting due dates, students must teach themselves to be responsible with their obligations and motivate themselves to learn.

Although online classes may have various advantages, they also have some disadvantages that may affect students. John Villasenor says that online classes may be helpful in some scenarios, but it restricts many attributes an in-person class has to offer. For example, during an online class – being a hybrid or full online course – professors cannot rely on key elements of teaching such as eye contact, recognizing body language and sensing the pace of the classroom and how students are coping with the information that they are receiving. This could affect the learning process when students give oral presentations or any other group activity that they might be involved, because professors can not evaluate students the same way they would have done in a classroom. Another factor that may affect students is motivation or difficulty to adjust to working at self-pace. This, according to Villasenor, is a big obstacle for many students, since they have many distractions around them, students cannot focus on their class during their time. Yes, online classes offer free time and does not require a strict schedule, but that specifically could be the undoing of many students. Finally, students who need a combination of visual and auditive may have difficulties in learning as well as those who have disabilities or health conditions. The remoteness the online classes present, could heavily affect these types of students, because they must basically self-teach all the material. Fortunately, professors are very considerate especially in today’s pandemic world, but still these are obstacles that many students sadly cannot overcome.

Having discussed the pros and cons about online class, it all comes to which type of students is taking the course. If the students can have self-management and can quickly learn the information without having much trouble, then online classes ae a viable option. But for those students who need assistance and do not learn efficiently at their own pace, may not see online classes as a good way to continue their studies. Either way, right now all students need to adjust to this type of teaching because of COVID-19, but hopefully it will return to the times when it was more of a choice than a necessary requirement.