Syracuse University expected to continue offering online classes post-pandemic
COVID-19 has severely hampered the course of universities across the country, bringing out the good, the bad, and the bad side of education trends in the United States. I returned home to India when Syracuse University closed in March 2020. I was clearly naive enough to believe that this situation resulted in the perfect solution for a homesick international student, however, I did not take into account the cost of online learning and time difference.
Waking up at 4 a.m. Indian Standard Time to take a statistics exam and staying up until 3 a.m. to finish my screenwriting class was tough. On the other hand, I also had asynchronous classes, which were blessings in disguise. Then, about a year and a half later, we were all back on campus, swearing to follow all preventive measures and trying to get back to normal. However, an important question remained unanswered: should online learning be abandoned after the pandemic?
In favor of offline learning, I would argue that in-person classes create a more stimulating environment for students and faculty. It erases a sense of isolation by bringing students together and putting them in a more responsible and personal atmosphere. It also mitigates the risk of potential internet-related issues and the possibility of students being distracted by their computer.
Overall, in-person classes provide students with the traditional college experience, allowing them to meet new people and build their social circle by physically interacting with other students and faculty. It helps students overcome laziness and stay aware of their surroundings while behaving professionally on campus. This is a unique experience that online learning fails spectacularly.
On the contrary, online classes can work in favor of those living with social anxiety or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, both of which can be heightened due to the environment built around physically interactive sessions. In-person classes can make many students feel uncomfortable when sitting with a group of people they don’t know, distracting them and making them feel uncomfortable.
Online learning is a great way to make resources available to students, increase accessibility, and reduce handwriting stress. I have witnessed a wide variety of learning styles introduced by different teachers during the pandemic and I see no reason why virtual classroom styles should be abandoned.
Now we need to find a way to instill the trend of online learning into traditional in-person college. From the student’s perspective, it really depends on the type of course being taught. For example, taking an online sociology course seems much easier than taking a physics lab course. Likewise, a course in human development and family science would be much more hands-on than a course in cinematography. Nevertheless, each student has a set of electives to complete during their program. Having a few of these courses taught online would be really efficient in terms of productivity and a big time saver for students.
Many courses that are mainly lectures and intensive discussions could be delivered asynchronously, giving students the opportunity to review their grades, complete their assignments and participate in discussions at ease, submitting the given tasks at the end of each week. Such courses help provide a good balance in a student’s academic schedule as they devote more time and effort to focusing on excellence in their core courses.
SU offers a collection of the most popular or commonly chosen courses (especially by freshmen and sophomores) to meet general elective requirements such as PSY 205 and SOC 101. I believe these courses have the potential to be just as constructive and successful when taught online. . Additionally, these courses do not require a rigorous exam to test a student’s understanding of the topic, as this requirement can be met through periodic discussion posts, articles, and quizzes.
Universities can continue to exist as they have, even after infusing the e-learning trend. The world is constantly changing and the digital age will soon take over, as it is already beginning to do. Online learning is the start of something new, and our university must harness the strengths of both types of learning and implement the new digital way of educating students. The only challenge is to foster online learning while trying to maintain the virtues of physically interactive learning in the digital age.
Shriya Anitha Vinod Menon is a junior television, radio and film student with a minor in psychology. Her column appears every two weeks and can be reached at [email protected].
Published on March 23, 2022 at 8:38 p.m.