With recent threats of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading across the globe, many schools and businesses have been going into quarantine-shutdown, canceling classes and forcing workers and students to look for creative solutions in new places. Shifting the usual in-person lessons for students online is just one of the many solutions for the current situation, but as with anything, there are still some details to be worked out.
Online schools, like many things, have their advantages and disadvantages, but the effectiveness of this online education is determined by the weight of the pros and cons.
The first advantage of this new online style is that it is time flexible. Students can log on or off and do things at their own pace on their own time. Of course, deadlines and assignment dates still remain, but as long as students are keeping up with them, then they are free to do other activities at their leisure. This is particularly appealing to those with other things on their plates like families or jobs.
On the other hand, there is limited social interaction with distance learning. Not only are students missing out on school events like prom or extracurriculars (granted in this time social distancing is a safe practice), but they are also getting little to no face to face interaction with their instructors. This can make it difficult when questions on assignments or projects come about.
Similarly, the lack of constant reiteration from teachers about ongoing tasks can leave those students prone to procrastination at the short end of the stick. Online school can be demanding, and between the hours of material containing video supplements, lectures and assignments, students can quickly become overwhelmed. Self-direction plays a big part in successful distance learning, something that not all students are prepared to undertake.
What is equally important to consider is the location of this new structure of learning. Since the online classes have no physical location per se, students can work on things anywhere at any time. The extra time spent usually commuting to classes can be spent on other things like completing homework or studying.
Though the technological requirements of online schooling can rouse some issues for those unable to access the proper elements like the internet, there are some benefits for those who are able to use technology. Across the country, teachers and students alike are having to familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of distance learning. Finding new online resources and learning how to navigate online courses means allowing the opportunity for those programs to improve with more feedback from a bigger audience than usual.
And yes, there is always going to be a stigma about the idea of online school and if it holds up to the former bricks-and-mortar view, but as more schools establish and extend their online courses, the credibility of online school also improves. In fact, some might even be as bold to say that with motivation, online learning can present opportunities to learn just as much – if not more than – the traditional classroom. With new platforms and schedules, students may feel like they have more time to think through and construct their answers, making them more likely to share their thoughts and ideas in the future.
So even though students may be receiving the same valuable education as before, the learning style has taken a completely new direction in terms of compatibility for students. A whole new structure filled with online courses is a learning experience for many, and it is something to think about in future classrooms – as long as the pros outweigh the cons.