Online learning gets mixed reception

Bridget Reichmuth, Of The Talon staff

Beginning on Aug. 24, students started a new school year, but this time completely online as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

The completely online virtual learning is scheduled to last for at least the first quarter of the school year, which ends on Oct. 23. Students and teachers alike are having to adjust to this new and different way of learning, which comes with its pros and cons. Jason Miller, who teaches social studies, said that although things are a lot different than usual, there are definitely pros about online learning that may not be super evident at a glance. One example is regarding the benefits of learning more about technology. 

“As I am learning the new technologies, I am actually kind of liking the way that I am finding that I can interact with students, as they are able to ask the questions that they have in a more timely manner and I am able to have a level of interaction even if it is by text that maybe I would not have before,” Miller said. 

While many students have their own opinions about these changes due to the current circumstances, Senior Sara Hunstad said that one of the pros of online learning is that it is a good thing that everyone is staying safe during the pandemic. Another aspect that was changed this year as a result of the online learning schedule was the amount of classes that each student takes. As in previous years seven classes were taken during a regular school day whereas only four classes are taken on a daily basis this year during first quarter.

“There is a slightly decreased workload because we only have four classes so it helps everyone not to be as stressed,” Hunstad said. 

However, online learning has some cons that are not applicable when it comes to a normal school year. This includes the unpredictability of the internet connection and if electronic devices will work properly when in class Zoom meetings. Christine Pickett, who teaches science, said that there are several aspects that contribute to the complexities of daily class meetings.

“A full class discussion is difficult because we don’t know who is going to start talking and who talks over who and so that piece is hard. I feel that I am talking more than I would normally talk in a classroom and engagement is hard,” Pickett said. 

Additionally, another challenge that is currently evident is the way in which students form personal connections with others through in-person interaction. Junior Julia Boyher said it has been more difficult to form relationships with those around her during this time.

“I am finding that with online learning it is a lot harder to have relationships with your teachers because most of the time everyone is muted and they are just teaching because they only have an hour and you have to get in as much [information] as you can,” Boyher said.