The Benefits of Zoom University: One student reflects on the positive outcomes of hybrid learning.

In the past year, students all over the world began  experiencing an increase in online learning thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Having graduated high school in the midst of online courses after all of my other years of schooling in person only, this new normal consisting of online learning was definitely, well, a learning curve.

For me, online learning was the best thing that could have happened for the end of my senior year, but college turned out to be a whole different experience.

I personally really enjoyed the hybrid format, with some classes in person and some classes online, as I enjoy aspects of both ways of learning. Either of these options may not be for everyone, some people do not do well in online classes, while others excel, and vice versa. A lot of people close to me cannot stand online learning,
and are therefore taking a semester off of school due to an overwhelming amount of online classes. A few of my other friends took advantage of this completely virtual format at their respective schools, and were able to enjoy their semesters from the comfort of their actual homes, not bothering to live on campus and saving
thousands of dollars in room and board fees.

As a freshman, I have been unable to experience Eastern with only in person classes, but I really do not mind. Again, I quite enjoyed the hybrid format that my schedule was in, and having a relatively even balance of in person and virtual classes.

I feel that asking for all online classes or even a wide variety of hybrid classes would be asking a lot from our professors in the coming years once we’ve reached that lovely post-pandemic world mark, but I do think I would definitely like to see more online classes from Eastern even after Covid-19.

Each learning platform has its individual pros and cons, but for me, online courses outweigh the cons, and many of the cons can be easily fixed.

For many, choosing Eastern was part of a decision and desire to go to a school that had smaller class sizes and more opportunities to build relationships with professors. Online courses definitely limit that interaction, especially as in a zoom meeting with dozens of students it can be difficult to build any type of relationship or friendship with both professors and fellow classmates. This issue can however, be resolved with even a simple email to a professor, asking for a one on one meeting during office hours or even requesting to stay “after class” for anything. Even in online classes, I have found my professors to be more than accommodating and willing to help in the same ways they would help in an in-person classroom setting.

Online classes also help with any type of sickness, not just covid. In high school, I tended to get sick a lot, and as a result, would miss a lot of my classes due to my
absences from being sick. In college, I have yet to miss a day of class without prior notice to my professor. If I am not feeling well, I can easily email my professor to zoom in to class that day, so I don’t have to miss anything or fall behind on my work. Even when I was in quarantine with Covid I did not have to miss any of my classes.

Don’t get me wrong, no online class could really match the same experience of being in a classroom and attending classes in person, but it can be a great option
for a lot of students.

Either way, college is hard, and I am grateful that the pandemic has allowed us to experience different types of class formats. Online classes may not work for some,
but it can certainly help others, and vice versa, it is really about your individual learning style and preferences.

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