Online learning: What it is like to learn virtually during the pandemic

Published by Katie Gray on

Jerika Whightsil’s at-home setup for online learning allows her ease-of-access and comfort while in class
Photo provided by Jerika Whightsil

Online learning: What it is like to learn virtually during the pandemic

Students switching to school online with Zoom and Canvas talk about how challenging it can be. However, with the challenges, come many benefits.

For many students, online learning is still complicated and overwhelming, but they are adapting just like Sarah Mann.

“I am not a stellar example of online learning; I am only learning this way because there is no other option,” Mann says.

Online learning, although it is stressful, can be very beneficial for parents and students because it helps with time management; it is easily accessible any time of the day; and it allows mothers and fathers more time with their children.

Jennifer Williams, a UCC student, says, “It has been beneficial for balancing life, but not all classes are suited for online learning. I am able to have a better home life balance. I can get things done at my own pace which allows for the ups and downs of parenting two little girls.”

Many online classes seem way more challenging such as math and science.

“For many classes I have done well, and for some it was devastating. I have been putting off some classes until return to in person, but I have run out of time and am hoping for the best,” Williams says. “With my neural divergence I struggle with dyscalculia, a learning disorder that makes math concepts difficult to solidify into memory. My last college math class was 10 years ago. … Trying to remember old concepts while learning new ones outside of the classroom setting with little face-to-face help meant I had to drop Math 111 last term.”

Helynn Wilson, also a mother who does school online, says, “I am a stay-at-home mom right now with three small children. The online learning platform works best for me since I don’t have to find a sitter to attend in person classes. It gives me the freedom to learn from home while still taking care of my kids.”

Online school is flexible, and it is easier to be able to work in classes with an everyday schedule.

UCC psychology teacher Georgann Willis says, “I think there are many benefits to online learning. First of all, the idea that face-to-face learning is superior to online learning is simply not true. So much depends on the professor and how live classes or online classes are set up. You can have amazing face to face and amazing online classes, and you can also get very poor quality one for both modalities.”

Psychology Professor Georgann Willis provides a list of benefits of online learning.
Graphic by Peyton Manning / The Mainstream

Sophavid Choum-Starkey, an exchange student, says online learning can be stressful, difficult and make a student feel burnt out, so it is easy for a student to be unmotivated and withdraw from classes.

She offers advice: “Living and doing schooling during pandemic has helped me to learn as an independent learner. It has helped me to learn, explore different hobbies and take up new skills. It makes me realize that I am blessed to have such a supportive husband and family. It makes me think that we have to support, care for, love, and respect one another even more,” Choum-Starkey says.

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