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Virtual classes versus on campus classes: what do students prefer?

(Photo courtesy of UMass Lowell)

Hamza Chaudhry
Connector Contributor

UML students are coming back on the Lowell campus for a conscientious, productive, and exhilarating fall semester once again. The COVID-19 pandemic has inhibited many individuals from accessing on campus classes due to the tragic repercussions caused by the virus not just domestically but internationally.

In the preceding semesters, collegiate institutions across the United States and the U.K. have adapted their students to transition to online classes while the virus subsides and for vaccination production to increase substantially before coming back onto campus. As we are assimilating back onto campus again, students globally are experiencing strenuous difficulties trying to adapt to on campus classes again, while on the latter side other individuals prefer on campus classes as opposed to classes relegated online.

Individuals across social media apps such as TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat have also voiced their opinions in terms of whether or not they prefer classes in person or online. Which subsequently led me to the idea of asking our fellow UML students on their opinions in terms of their underlying preferences.

Do they prefer online over on campus? Were classes online more counterintuitive and distressing as opposed to on campus classes?  Max Churchill, a current sophomore and sound recording major, says that “Being on campus has been much more educational for me personally, I’ve learned a lot more in a shorter period of time and the bigger part of that is because of the interactions between other individuals.

Learning through Zoom was fine and I still learned about various concepts but I’ve never got the chance to apply them in the same way as I do now.” Furthermore, Max believes that majoring in a field such as music is built off the small interactions of others that frankly can’t be replicated through a computerized screen.

Music is inherently a major that necessitates practicality in terms of doing in person classes, and that is just something Max requires due to his choice of major. Moreover, Max unequivocally believes that having in person classes is an essential imperative due to the job sphere requiring individuals to be sociable, meticulous, and pragmatic.

These are skills which are centrally achieved through an on-campus setting as opposed to classes situated online. Individuals such as Lamond Frost, a current junior and mechanical engineering major, also says “I like on campus because of the sheer productivity and the ability to remain sociable with other friends in person instead of being online.

On-Campus classes have consolidated my ability to remain disciplined while the latter option of remaining online has been anything but intuitive and productive for me personally. Seeing other individuals working around me helps me to stay focused on the tasks I need to finish at hand as a mechanical engineering major.

When I was in my household the preceding semester, it was extremely difficult for me to stay on task and remain productive.” Lamond’s beliefs pertaining to online classes is something that doesn’t deviate from the beliefs of the vast majority of students across US and U.K. collegiate institutions.

Remaining disciplined online and focally understanding the subjects we’re required to learn, which are subjects that include music or engineering can seem inherently difficult to conceptualize, understand, and comprehend thoroughly while situated at home. Nonetheless, UML students are profoundly grateful at having the opportunity of coming back to the Lowell campus again this fall to not just have a productive semester, but also a time to have a memorable and sociable time with friends and faculty on campus!


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