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Online vs. In-Person Learning


Over the years, there has been a lot of debate about whether online classes serve the same purpose as face-to-face. Online learning is extremely popular nowadays due to the convenience and flexibility to learn and acquire knowledge as well as being a safer alternative during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the end of the day, taking online or face-to-face courses is based on personal preference. When asked what she preferred, University of North Georgia student Natalia Meza said, “I prefer in-person classes because I can interact in face-to-face conversations and engage with both my professors and classmates.”

Courses on campus allow the instructor and students to concentrate, gain a better understanding of the material, access more information, and connect with others. There are less distractions in the classroom than working remotely from home.

UNG student Jordie Black said, “The biggest benefit of online learning for me is being able to work around my schedule, as I need to make money in order to pay for classes.” 

Amber Smith, a communications and PR student, also prefers online classes because it works better with her schedule. She said, “I do not think the classes serve the same purpose. I think in-person is all about interaction and discussion, and online is strictly about mastering the material.”

Communication, Media and Journalism Professor Steven Shields said, “Some students, who like a lot of structure, tend to excel in online learning while other students who may give into procrastination have a harder time staying on pace with the modules.”

With the pandemic came challenges; teachers and students had to quickly adjust and transition into facing their new reality.

Professor Shields shared that when the pandemic first hit in March 2020, and we suddenly went into online mode, he had never taught a single online course. 

“Teaching during the pandemic was a learning curve for me as a teacher. The pandemic brought humanity and empathy to the forefront of education. It was a period to be human first and teacher second.”- Professor Toluwani Oloke

In regards to whether or not online classes serve the same purpose as face-to-face, it seems to be unclear since there are varying answers among professors and students. Shields said, “In my opinion, no, they do not. There is a social element that the college experience has always included, and that is interacting with others who form a learning community.

On the other hand, Oloke said, “I think both online and in-person classes serve the same purpose of fostering student-centered learning. The main difference is just the format and the dynamics involved, but ultimately, the fundamental purposes are the same.” 

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Online vs. In-Person Learning