PRO/CON: Virtual Learning: Positive or Negative?

Maddie Root and Cameron Gibson

PRO: Online school adds countless benefits to each student’s day and is a refreshingly new way to learn as compared to in-person school.

What once seemed like a totally foreign concept has now become the “new normal.”
JC students began the online learning process of spring last year and have adapted to the circumstances very quickly.
Students are now able to learn from the comfort of their own home, meaning they can relax in a comfortable chair or even lay on the couch while attending classes throughout the day. In regular school, students are required to spend most of their day sitting in an uncomfortable plastic chair attached to a desk.
Some may say that online school, not being in the JC building all day, provides the opportunity for students to be more active during the school day.
For example, during off-mods or lunch breaks, students have the option to go outside and take in the sunshine. Going outside is a rare occurrence in a typical in-person school day.
Another benefit of virtual learning is less commuting back-and-forth from school. Students are able to spend more time on their school work and save gas money when they do not have to drive to school. This extra time allows students to hang out with their families more often during the school day.
Less commuting also means sleeping in late. Sleeping in late is by far the best benefit of online school. Students are able to wake up as late as 7:59 am and still make it to class on time. It gives the students who live far away from JC the opportunity to finally sleep in every day.
Most students are ravenous during every hour of the school day. Throughout in-person learning, eating in class is not permitted in most classrooms. During virtual learning, you can simply head to the kitchen and grab a yummy snack and eat while in class. Whipping up a tasty smoothie only takes five minutes.
Online school has helped many students develop better eating habits. Instead of rushing to the cafeteria to grab some fries before their next class, students can plan out their meals at home and feel better about their food choices.
Virtual learning creates a familiar learning environment for students, but it also challenges us, just like regular school.
The many perks of online school help to create a less stressful academic atmosphere for students in the JC community.   – Maddie Root

CON: Online education has been a struggle to say the least. Apart from the obvious, such as missing friends and teachers, there are many other issues that come along with online school. These issues include things like students being unable to stay focused and miscommunications.

One of these is the struggle to stay focused which is caused by the many distractions that are almost unavoidable at home. Most students will work with a TV on in the same room, phones within an arm’s reach, and computers in front of their faces. These are all things which, at one time or another, become distractions to a student.
Many students may have multiple family members in the house at the same time, causing even more distractions. Family members could distract a student by talking or just doing normal routine things around a student who is doing virtual learning.
Staying focused during a monotonous Teams meeting becomes almost impossible with all the distractions that surround a student.
Another struggle many students have faced during online schooling is trying to stay motivated. Normally, a student would have time to get most of their school work done in school and what they did not, they would work on with friends during off-mods or finish during whatever free time they found during school hours.
Instead, students now spend around seven hours per day in front of a computer screen doing schoolwork at home and then have to spend more time finishing assignments after this. This creates the feeling of a never-ending day consisting of seven hours of school, additional hours of homework, and then having to things such as chores and errands.
With the seemingly never-ending school day and list of things afterwards, it is hard to find the motivation to write an essay or do an extra math worksheet.
Another problem with online school most students will face is the confusion and miscommunication that will sometimes occur between students and teachers. Not going into school can create confusion on due dates and times which could affect a student’s grade.
Another common miscommunication is where certain assignments are located. Students will inevitably face the dilemma of trying to figure out whether directions for an assignment is on Microsoft Teams under one of the many tabs, in Veracross, or on a teacher’s website. All of these possible places could — and sometimes do — lead to a student’s being unable to find an assignment. This ultimately hurts the student’s grade.
Online school hasn’t been all-around bad. John Carroll has done an exceptional job of making a smooth transition into virtual learning.
Even with this, there are some unavoidable drawbacks for students and teachers that lead online learning to feel more like a daily struggle than anything else.
While I know that students are beginning to move into the building next week, let’s just hope we are able to move from virtual sooner than later.  -Cameron Gibson