Due to the corona crisis, universities had to close. For some students nothing changed, for some people it is a paradise and for some their whole world fell in despair. Whatever kind of student you are, you have to cope with the new laws and the new learning system. After some experience you can probably understand there are some positive sides and downsides to this whole affair.
First of all, it is quite nice to wake up in the morning and not have to cycle all the way to college. Especially if it is bad weather outside or if you also have to go by bus or train. Sometimes traveling can be just that barrier to not attend lectures. Then it is an advantage that it can now be done digitally. This can also be good for the environment, because it also saves all those students and professors who normally go by car.
In addition, it is also ideal that in most cases the lectures are recorded, which is a lot easier and more common if it is a digital lecture. If you have no questions and cannot attend live, you can still attend the lecture yourself at a time that suits you. This would also allow people to be more flexible with their time and students can also take the less flexible side jobs. The student can also follow it anywhere with internet, so returning to your parents’ home is a possibility. Without some costs like buying groceries etc, it can save you some money as well.
Unfortunately, there are not only advantages to digital teaching. Obviously, there may be simple problems, like when you have a bad internet connection. However, what is really missing is the interaction between the students themselves and between the student and the professor. That differs per course, but in general a lot less interaction is possible. The programs with which the professors have to work are also sometimes somewhat difficult where a chalk or (interactive) whiteboard is a lot simpler.
I personally find the lack of interaction between the students themselves the most annoying. Because you go to lectures together and have discussions about the subject during the coffee breaks, you continue to motivate and keep each other active with the subject. It is also easier to ask questions among ourselves. Because this interaction is missing, it can influence motivation somewhat. The moment you notice that you are the first to start an assignment or study can be motivating and you immediately ensure that the rest scratches behind the ears and also gets to work, or the other way around. Of course you can still communicate digitally, but it may feel less personal and does not quite feel the same. This direct communication is also missing when you want to ask a professor something. Normally you could just drop by the office, but now that the entire university is closed, that is impossible and can be a barrier to asking the question.
A solution for the study atmosphere and communication could be something like studying online together. Where you do not necessarily talk to each other, but you all study with the webcam on. A live stream on YouTube, for example, of someone who is studying already seems to help for some (for more information check out our previous article on the topic). Yes, there are a number of advantages and some drawbacks. Every student is different. The independence and home situation play an important role during this corona crisis. This new digital form works better for one person and worse for another. All in all, this could be the future. It remains to be seen whether we can expand this system in the future to something that works for everyone.