They experience many students have had with online learning this semester will influence their decision to take online classes in the future. I think that the experience of most students will ultimately drive them away from online classes.
The future of online learning will be impacted by the mid-semester switch to remote learning this spring.
Many students who had never experienced online classes had their first experience with the rapid transition to remote learning caused by the pandemic, rather than a carefully designed class meant to be delivered online.
Through no fault of their own, not all faculty members have had the proper training to deliver adequate online delivery, and the in-person classes they teach are not designed for remote delivery anyway.
Although the temporary switch to remote delivery has been adequate for the time being, many students have experienced communication problems with professors, technological issues and the stress associated with the pandemic.
Because of this experience, some students will turn away from willfully taking online classes in the future. This experience is also likely for K-12 schools, many of which had no prior experience with online delivery.
Of course, there will be some students who enjoyed their experience with online classes and choose to take more in the future, even when the pandemic ends. However, I think the overall trend will be away from online learning once there is a vaccine for the virus, as students will associate online classes with the hectic nature of the mid-semester switch.
I came to college to not only get a degree but also to meet new people, get involved on campus and experience the full spectrum of what the university has to offer. That is not to say that these things cannot be experienced through online learning, but it is more difficult.
My experience with online classes has not been great. I always feel like I am forgetting about a due date or an assignment, communicating with some professors has been a challenge and I miss being on campus and interacting with people in a class. Overall, I feel less engaged.
Many of my friends and classmates have voiced the same struggles.
The isolation and boredom associated with taking online classes and being quarantined have reminded us how vital social interaction is. More specifically, they have reminded us how vital the role of student-teacher interaction is when it comes to student engagement and learning.
It is unclear whether or not in-person classes will resume in the fall, given that a second wave of the virus could resurface around the same time the flu season will start, according to top health experts.
Some have proposed an online option for all classes since many people will still be reluctant to gather in large numbers until there is a readily-available vaccine.
If the university does decide to continue remote learning in the fall, the university will have more time to prepare high-quality online classes, and many students’ experiences with online classes could be better than this spring.
Every aspect of our lives will be changed by the coronavirus pandemic, including the future of education and the role that technology plays in it.
If there is one thing the lockdown has shown us, it is that there is no substitute for true human interaction.