The past two years have been an intense learning experience. Every part of our day-to-day lives changed drastically overnight, and while online school was not the simplest transition to make, it is now heavily ingrained in student culture.
As we start to transition back into today’s version of normalcy, online learning should remain an option for students. Online classes offer both students and teachers more flexibility, greater appreciation for and understanding of technology and create positive classroom dynamics.
Online learning affords us the opportunity to take classes from anywhere and after two years of isolation, the ability to travel while keeping up with your schoolwork has never been easier. It is important to take advantage of time spent enjoying new adventures and thanks to online classes, students can do so while remaining connected.
“Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth of thought, as well as the ability to make deep connections,” said Adam Galinsky, a Columbia Business School professor who has authored several studies investigating the connection between travel and creativity.
With the option available, it is important to expand our life experiences while remaining connected to the classroom.
Admittedly, online courses are not a perfect setting for every class. It is a less than perfect style of teaching for things like science labs, theater performances and pottery lessons. However, English lectures, math classes and other prerequisites have found ways to keep students engaged with the use of technology.
The classroom in 2022 is much more tech savvy than it was back in 2020. Tenured professors have adapted (whether they wanted to or not) to using Zoom, Google Drive and video lectures to teach the new generation of college students. We have all come to have a richer understanding of the technology used today.
This phenomenon has been studied by researchers at the University of Nebraska. They found that “most participants, 89%, reported that use of digital technologies advanced their knowledge in the online learning environment. They referenced technology as learning tools that helped them to engage, participate and contribute to knowledge creation in the online discussion forums”.
Online learning platforms and tools have become part of our new normal and our ability to navigate modern technology have only increased and has only helped us to become more adaptable and knowledgeable students.
Technology is incorporated into most aspects of daily life for the majority of college students. Our generation values the anonymity the internet provides us, as it acts as a shield so we can be our most honest selves. Online classes have opened a new space that traditional classrooms never could provide — the ability to participate without drawing attention to oneself.
Not everyone is confident enough to strut into class and speak up when professors ask questions. The online forum provides all the comforts of tweeting with the added bonus of it counting as class participation! A study completed at the University of Sydney Australia concluded “the use of anonymity provides students with a sense of protection to enable them to take a bolder step, allowing for a higher level of participation and production in peer interaction.” For the online trolls living inside of each of us, online classes can be the key to contributing our authentic thoughts to group discussions.
Online instruction really is proving to be the new frontier. While the past two years have brought about trends that definitely should disappear (tie dye, nature’s cereal, diy haircuts), a platform that allows students and teachers to enjoy travel while working, teaches new technological skills and helps shy students to open up does not deserve to be on that list.
Julianna Sondon is a freshman from Miami, Florida, majoring in journalism with an art minor.