Universities all across the country have now transitioned to online classes. Most universities use Zoom, hence the infamous Zoom University memes, as the way to broadcast live lectures and to record them for students who are unable to attend. Personally, online classes are just not for me, and many of my friends agree, and here's why.
Before I jump into the drawbacks of online learning, I'll mention some benefits. I'm the type of student who has a hard time paying attention and following along with the professor during an in-person lecture, so being able to pause and rewind is a great way for me to write down something before they move on. Some professors go at a slower pace, and what normally would be a 1 hour and 30-minute lecture can be reduced to 45 minutes at 1.5 times the normal speed.
On the other hand, I believe that there are more drawbacks than benefits to online learning. First of all, my WiFi is just straight-up terrible. I had to rejoin one of my classes (which is live and attendance is mandatory) twice within an hour because my internet just dies on me when I need it the most. I have to attend meetings as well, and I swear, half of the time people think I'm ignoring them because they can't hear me from their end because my internet lags. Not to mention, when everyone tries to take an exam at the same time, everything crashes, and nothing is saved in the system. It actually happened to me during the first week of online classes, and everyone was emailing professors left and right; it was chaos.
Another drawback is the fact that 99% of the class turns off their video and mutes themselves. I understand that many people would prefer others to not see or hear what's going on at home, but it just makes online classes feel distant and impersonal. It's as if people are there but not really there. I also feel anxious not being able to associate a face with the voice, and sometimes, there's just uncomfortable silence when we're put into breakout rooms.
Lastly, it's hard to control what others do on their end during class. On the first day of my online microbiology class and only a half-hour into the lecture, let's just say, someone drew inappropriate things on the lecture slides while my professor was speaking. Luckily, he dealt with it calmly, even though it was an awkward minute or so. I genuinely felt bad for him because he was trying his best and still adjusting to remote teaching. Another incident that occurred was when someone hacked into office hours and began blasting inappropriate music, forcing the host to end the Zoom session. It's just plain immaturity and inconsideration, and my university has now required students to input a password before joining certain classes.
While I appreciate that technology has enabled us to continue our education, I still would prefer to be on campus and attending in-person lectures. I hope that we'll be able to return for the fall semester because you just can't replace sitting in a lecture hall with your friends and struggling to understand the material together.