We Shouldn’t Go Back to Online Learning: Here’s Why

Graphic by Mia White

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Graphic by Mia White

Trisha Villanueva, Staff Writer

   Towards the end of winter break, I saw TikToks that said some universities were going online for the first two weeks of the new semester. Harvard University, Yale University, Duke University, and the University of Miami to name a few. My thoughts were, if universities were going back to online learning, is there a possibility that we’d follow those steps? Would my junior year end the same way it did for my brother?

   Online learning was fine for a year, but I didn’t like the thought of possibly going back, especially during my junior year. For the remainder of break, all I did was hope to not open an email that says we’re going online for the first two weeks back. 

   I do admit that online learning has its perks. For one, we started school an hour later than we normally would. I think I can speak for many students that we all appreciated the extra hour of sleep. Class ending early was also a plus because I had time to kill to do homework, study, relax, or even take a nap. 

   When asked if schools should go back online, I personally believe that we shouldn’t. I think that the negatives outweigh the positives. With online learning, there are too many distractions which makes it difficult to pay attention in class. Social media, video games, FaceTime, or Discord are conveniently within reach. There’s also problems with Internet connections, when we hear fragments instead of the entire sentences, or even getting kicked out of the Zoom call. It also takes a toll on teachers because it would mean that we’d go from having a full class with different conversations, to an online class where everyone is muted or even off the camera. With many students staying inside all day, it’s not uncommon for students to feel alone and isolated. Overall, if we were to go back online, I think that it would be tough for everyone, from students, teachers, and even parents. 

   I am definitely guilty of having been on my phone rather than paying attention in the Zoom call. It was easy; my phone was within reach so why wouldn’t I go on it? Although I rarely used FaceTime to call my friends while in class, it doesn’t take away the fact that my attention was diverted away from the call. There were also students that played video games in class, which resulted in the “what?” when asked a question. As much as us students would like to think it’s not obvious when we’re not paying attention, I think that it was easy for teachers to tell. Especially when we suddenly start smiling or laughing at things that are definitely not something to smile or laugh at. There’s too many distractions within reach. 

   Internet connections aren’t always the best, so I have been kicked out of the call not once or twice, but three times in one class period. Not only do I miss important things that were being said, other times I’d hear choppy sentences. It was difficult at times trying to piece together the information I missed, and didn’t miss. I feel that it’s important to have at least 2 electronics for online learning, in case one’s Internet doesn’t work. If the Internet on my laptop didn’t work, I had to switch over to my phone and use my data. It’s not ideal to do schoolwork on my phone because I prefer having a bigger screen, and I think that many can agree. 

   Teachers especially had to not only adjust fast with learning the things needed for online school, they also had to find different ways to engage the class. I know that many teachers felt that they were simply talking to themselves rather than a class, because of the lack of participation. Although not everyone likes being called on, teachers were occasionally left with no choice but to call on students, to get some conversation going. There’s also the problem with some students having their camera on but not showing their face, or not having the camera on at all. With our faces not on camera, how are they to know that we are paying attention?

   When we’re inside all day stuck in our rooms, feeling alone or isolated is evident. Personally, I struggled with anxiety and depression during my sophomore year. I was always anxious about the future; will my junior year be online? Will we ever go back to in person school? Will the rest of my high school years be online? I missed the overall school experience: I missed being able to walk with my friends to classes, to eat lunch with them, and to even hang out after school. 

   I’m really thankful that we are still continuing in person learning. We get to hang out with friends, it’s easy to understand the lessons being taught, and we’re getting the high school experience to enjoy. It is important to follow the safety precautions such as wearing a mask, social distancing, and staying home when sick. As long as we all do our parts, we will soon go back to normal, or a new normal rather.