When I started tertiary education at the start of 2020, I definitely didn’t predict that I’d be spending most of my first year of University at home.
In just 7 months of University I have experienced full-time on-campus learning, fully online learning, and a mix of both online and on-campus learning.
Returning back to campus over the past couple of months has certainly made me realise the substantial difference in education between zoom and a teacher in a classroom.
The start of online learning was full of excitement. Sleeping-in, not having to travel and being able to attend all my classes from my room sounded amazing. However, these new advantages slowly lost their initial benefits as the significant drawbacks started to arise.
Before I keep writing, I must note that this is my experience, and everyone’s style of learning is different. So for some, online education might have been much more beneficial for them!
Zoom is great for lectures, meetings and even seminars, but it is not effective as a replacement for classroom learning. It is much more difficult to ask questions, group activities are almost impossible, and students can quickly become disinterested.
Moreover, teachers have their own particular way that they like to teach. Now, this works in a classroom, but unfortunately, in online learning, the teacher has to lead the lesson and speak for the majority of the time. Some teachers utilise PowerPoint presentations; however, they don’t work well on zoom as students can’t take notes and it takes up the whole screen. Furthermore, teachers who focus on classroom interaction also doesn’t suit to online learning as the interaction between students is incredibly messy and unnatural.
However, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn remotely as it introduced me to zoom, communicating through discussion forums and having to find motivation merely from my bedroom. Online learning was never intended, but it was what we had to do, and I am grateful that I was placed in a position where I could continue my education within a pandemic.
Personally, I will always take the option of studying on-campus rather than online. Online learning is challenging, and I couldn’t imagine spending the next 5 years in my bedroom sitting in zoom classes.
Returning back to campus over the past couple of months has made me appreciate classrooms much more than I ever have before. My level of understanding, motivation and general education has also significantly improved since returning to the classroom.
This wasn’t the start to University that I expected, but it was definitely a new challenge.