Heard of COVID-19? I am sure you all have ad nauseum. After the shelter-in-place orders were implemented, you may have thought how will this impact your spring break plans, studying for finals, eating at restaurants with friends? Maybe even how will the school year end? But have you thought about how it will impact the fall semester of 2020? A number of universities are contemplating cancelling all in-person classes until 2021. That’s right. A whole semester of online courses.
As unfortunate the circumstances are, this may become a harsh reality for universities in just three short months. Most universities do not have the infrastructure in place to host classes online or provide online lecture modules. Let’s say your university does have the infrastructure, do they have an entire semester of curriculum digitized? Maybe or maybe not. Which arrives at my final factor to consider, the quality of your university’s online curriculum. Universities without a large endowment will be unable to quickly invest significant resources behind an online curriculum. Schools that rely on sports programs, international students or corporate donations will be further hamstrung to make the investment this year.
Ok, so what’s the good news? The good news is that there are a number of online resources available to supplement your university’s resources. In the case of medical school, there are areas where online learning will not cut it. Including, but not limited to anatomy dissections, simulation labs, and clinical rotations. Universities are scrambling to determine how to tackle these issues in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Labs, simulations, and clinical rotations are integral in the experience of becoming a doctor or healthcare specialist, so how will universities adapt?
A few individuals in the medical education space proclaim this pandemic will change how colleges and universities teach class permanently. Others believe that life will revert to the mean after time. The truth of the matter is no one knows how the next 6-12 months and thereafter will unfold. It will be a fascinating time to witness the innovation and adaptation of the educational realm from kindergarten to PhDs over the course of the next five years.
Prior to the outbreak, there was already an argument for online learning over traditional face-to-face learning. Below are five reasons experts argue that online learning is better than in-person classroom learning.
With online learning, students are given full control of their schedule and pace allowing them to speed up or slow down to their liking. A study IBM(1) conducted showed students learned five times more material in online learning courses using multimedia content than in the traditional classroom.
A large number of universities have seen a decline in class attendance by students. Retention rates in online courses are 25% - 60%(2) higher than the traditional classroom.
Students can spend up to 50% less time on learning with online classes because there is no commute or rigid schedule. Students have the option to spend more time improving deficiencies in knowledge and less time on subjects they are confident in.
A large benefit of eLearning is that quizzing can become a more ongoing process. According to research(3) conducted by Harvard, if you test students early and often it will cut distractions in half, triple note-taking and improve retention of material.
In Britain, The Open University found eLearning classes average 90% less energy and 85% fewer CO2 emissions per students than traditional courses.
We decided to write out the top pros and cons from our perspective for the two classrooms settings. So here is a look at our list.
The categorization and magnitude of these factors above will differ by student. Some students may love an online class format, while others hate it. Either way, every student should take a serious consideration to how they will excel in an at-home environment this fall.
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How does your comparison of Classroom vs. Online differ? Comment in the section below.