Zoom. Canvas. Google Classroom. These applications are associated with the times when everybody had to be taught by computers. While some would like to leave these memories behind however, some find ways to keep studying online or incorporate the apps into their life.

In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic teachers and students have discovered the weaknesses and strengths in online-based learning. While certain aspects of distance learning are removed, other areas will continue to increase in both effectiveness and frequency.

Online learning experiences are a great way to learn.

Many people felt that the 2020 pandemic was the first exposure to full-time online learning. Teachers were scrambling to find a curriculum that would work for online classes.

Shortly after the online learning began teachers faced difficulties in to keep students interested.

“It was a lot more difficult to maintain a conversation that was organic, especially when it was possible to call kids fast,” said Andrew Ramroth Math teacher at Carlmont. “Especially when students at the other end of the line claimed they were experiencing technical issues, which a lot of them had. Since now, the kids are nothing more than a black screen it’s much more difficult to stay in contact and communicate with them.”

Ramroth discovered that the interactions between teachers and students became less frequent, yet Ramroth is adamant about these interactions to assist his students with their learning.

According to the findings of a study conducted by Frontiers in Psychology, teacher-student interactions can help students learn because of the effects of engagement as well as the atmosphere of their minds.

“The amount of conversations with your students is going way down. There’s more difficulty in starting a conversation with a student.

that was the most difficult part. The goal of the conversation is making friends with students in order to build an improved relationship and better learning. It’s also about being able to keep track of what the students are up to and observing what questions they’re asking,” Ramroth said.

Certain concepts are more difficult to master than others. Online learning sites such as Khan Academy often provide a wealth of information for math , but not much for the humanities.

“In the world of online education, courses are more objective, such as sciences and maths, whereas the more subjective classes such as English are more difficult to master because they require a lot greater communication” claimed sophomore Paul Zhou.

Despite the initial challenges students generally discovered online learning to be very easy, given that they didn’t have to make the trek.

“You can learn online at any time from your home, instead of having to attend a class. If you are absent from any classes, you are able to revisit online lectures and study the material,” Zhou said. 

“I would rather have all of my classes online so that I can maintain an adequate sleep schedule, because it’s more practical. Learning in person forces me to wake up earlier in the morning, and I’m not one of those people who likes to wake up early.”

Some found learning online more enjoyable than learning in person. Based on Pew Research, 27% of teenagers interviewed said that they prefer to learn entirely online or in a mixed learning space.

“There was a group of children who were interested in independently learning. They thought I truly thrive in this environment and I don’t have teachers on me every two minutes, and I don’t have parents to dictate what I need to do and so on,” said Dr. Kemi Oguntala who is an medical doctor for adolescents in Kaiser Daly City.

From the perspective of the teacher the task of keeping track of what students were performing became more difficult.

According to an study conducted by Frank Castelli and Mark Sarvary four out of ten students shut their cameras turned off because they were worried regarding their looks.

 Other concerns resulted from the content behind the camera of the student, and the fear of being noticed leaving the computer or distracted. This hindered teachers from seeing the things that students were focused on.

“For students’ internet use I don’t know because on the other side of that black screen, I’m not sure what’s happening. I can only imagine that students’ distractions at home are everywhere,” Ramroth said.

A majority of students prefer the traditional method of education.

“I prefer learning in person far more than online as teacher. This year was very difficult. I didn’t like my job as much as I do it when I’m at home,” Ramroth said.

The effects on mental health

The outbreak left people stranded at home with the family, with the exception of getting to connect and gain knowledge online. The isolation of the people affected the mental health of the people.

Based on the World Health Organization the pandemic caused an increase of 25% in anxiety. Additionally, social isolation led to a new level of stress and a greater restriction on the ability of people to work and perform at their best.

Online learning that is too intense can result in the development of zoom fatigue which can be the result of stress and exhaustion when you learn in a virtual environment for long periods of duration, according to the Kentucky Counseling Center. It can be difficult to concentrate and focus on learning when you’re not in traditional classrooms.

“In the most extreme instances, they’re not in existence. They’re just a blank box. You don’t know exactly where they are. I found it a bit difficult when I was learning online,” Ramroth said.

Furthermore that, many students go to the school to meet and socialize with friends , but this was removed with online learning.

“For those who use social media to ease loneliness or feel of not being enough due to lack of relationships with others and have no connections to others, they did not perform extremely well. For the kids who were affected it was much more difficult to come back to since they didn’t know who they were starting with. 

They weren’t sure who they should be for every group, which resulted in them being extremely nervous about going back. So it wasn’t a good idea for the group in any way,” Oguntala said.

Students who wanted to stay clear of domestic problems also had a difficult time when they were learning online.

“People who had problems with their family members or received an escape through school didn’t enjoy online learning as in the least. The result was that their anxiety grew because they’re now around those who contributed to lots of anxiety the majority often. This was definitely not an ideal combo,” Oguntala said.

In spite of a large rise in mental health problems children’s mental health improved due to the social settings they loved being in.

“People who suffer from anxiety enjoyed it since there was no need to think about school and their social interaction. They didn’t have the stress of worrying about the teacher calling them, and a lot of this was a benefit. They didn’t need to get ready for school.

There was no time crunch to get up, just get up and open your laptop and be good to go.” Oguntala explained.

But, there were some children who had good mental health. With the advent of the internet and social media individuals could communicate and connect to one another in a variety of types.

“Online learning did not affect my mental health and it didn’t negatively impact my health. I was fine socially” Zhou said.

Every student had a distinct experience, depending on their personal.

“It is really dependent on the child. It isn’t possible that we’d be able to come up with an unambiguous statement such as that since all kids differ,” Oguntala said.

Numerous new opportunities

As the internet grows as it expands, so will the possibilities for learning online after a pandemic. Students have the opportunity to avail of alternatives that are not part of schools that are traditional.

Many newly-created websites have been built to enhance education. With these sites students and teachers are able to take advantage of additional material on their own.

“I use websites as extra resources. I found my resources and, on top of that, I provide links to great Khan Academy videos and lots of other excellent math videos available that viewers could use as extra resources through YouTube,” Ramroth said.

Another popular website is YouTube tutorial videos showing how to master skills give teachers and students with a new learning tool both inside and outside in the schoolroom.

“All My YouTube video I created during distant learning I give to students so they can view them. Additionally the math teachers that are not online on YouTube have excellent videos and practice exercises,” Ramroth said.

With the help of teachers via online resources, children are able to benefit from online homeschooling. Apart from using well-known websites, such as Khan Academy, homeschooled students are also able to receive one-on-one instruction.

“I believe that homeschooling online is great for kids who are internally motivated who is able to learn on their own, and in reality they’re not in schools for parents, though I know that homeschooling can have lots of religious controls as well as other family values,” Oguntala stated.

Not only have online courses provided opportunities for high-school students, but also for colleges. According to onlineschooling.org, the University of Phoenix offered the first online degrees in 1989. The year 1993 was when Jones International University became the first university to operate entirely online.

Today 93% of the colleges that have campuses provide online materials. The majority of these institutions anticipate that online education in the colleges to expand.

The cost of online degrees is lower than traditional degrees. Based on edumed.org, an online nursing education at Arizona State University is $10,000 less expensive than an in-person diploma.

The bottom line is that learners from all are in a position to benefit from the new opportunities available, but it will depend on the student as well as the learner’s style of learning.

“If the child was able to manage their own work the school work, they’re the kind of child who can do it at home, and still be able to do it. If they rely on their parents for assistance or aren’t motivated, they require someone to support them with the task. Sometimes, the structure of school may help Oguntala added.