Opinion | We shouldn’t completely ditch online learning

While virtual learning has been challenging, some things have been incredibly useful and should continue to be used post-pandemic.


Kate Heston

Photo Illustration

Yassie Buchanan, Opinions Columnist

Continuing to learn through a global pandemic has proven to be a challenging task. However, it has also pioneered the way for innovative learning methods. Asynchronous learning and recorded lectures should continue to be available for students beyond the pandemic.

There are numerous pros and cons to online learning.

The access to learning material and flexibility of asynchronous learning has been a major advantage for many students that can continue after the pandemic. Professors can easily record lectures and hold virtual help sessions to work in tandem with in-person class.

Samyukta Karthik, a sophomore studying Biology and Psychology, keeps a packed schedule. Along with her two majors, Karthik is a Resident Assistant, involved in research, Dance Marathon, Student United Way, and the Pre-Health Conference Planning Committee.

When asked about the positives of online learning, Karthik said certain aspects of flexibility and accessibility benefited her.

“I think flexibility has been one of the largest benefits especially with classes that are asynchronous, even if they are synchronous there’s not as strict of a class schedule, which allows you to learn on your own time,” Karthik said.

Accessibility is another notable benefit with online learning with the use of captioning and allowing more comfortable spaces for more introverted students to learn and interact in class.

“Things like pronouns and how to pronounce your name can be easier to communicate in a virtual setting,” Karthik said. “Even if I’m a socially anxious or introverted individual, online learning is a lot easier way for me to interact and learn in a space that is comfortable and safe.”

Additionally, Karthik said the transition from online to in-person learning will be tricky to navigate time management.

“I don’t think I could balance the amount of semester hours I am taking in a different setting,” Karthik said. “Factoring the travel time to and from classes takes away from the accessibility of me being able to do various things. It also takes away from the self-paced learning I have adapted to.”

One of the blessings I have found with online platforms is the time it affords to explore and be involved in an array of projects and organizations. I’ve also participated in the Quad Cities Black Lives Matter support group with people from all over the state of Iowa. Without the flexibility of online schooling, I wouldn’t have the time to participate in this organization.

Classrooms can find ways to maintain this flexibility by offering options for students to Zoom in if unavailable to make it in person or when sick.

There’s no reason for students to stress about going to classes or meetings sick or unavailable for other reasons when there are plenty of online resources that could take over in those situations.

For accessibility reasons, it would be beneficial for professors to record large lectures. It allows captioning which lets students have the ability to look back on class material.

Additionally, keeping discussion pages for students to interact virtually is a good way to ensure more students have the opportunity to engage and collaborate with class material.

Although it will be nice to be back in a physical setting for class and beyond instead of staring at the same screen all day, it’s important we are able to take some of the positive aspects of online learning with us post-COVID-19.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.