Students reflect on virtual learning


Photo courtesy of Zoom Blog.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of “virtual learning” was hardly mainstream. Today, it is a practice that most households have heard of, and a method of schooling that has become embedded in Oakland University’s culture.

According to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics, 84% of undergraduates in the United States had some or all of their classes moved to online-only instruction at the beginning of the pandemic.

While weekly cases of COVID-19 are decreasing nationally, OU’s current winter semester offers over 600 virtual courses — proving that virtual learning has become a staple that likely won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. 

Junior Isha Dwivedi admires how flexible virtual learning is, as she can wake up and jump right into a lecture.

“I’ll just be in bed,” Dwivedi said. “If I have an 8 a.m. class, I’ll wake up at 7:50 and it takes about 10 minutes [to get ready]. It’s just really flexible — I love that.”

Like Dwivedi, senior Jewel Gorospe is also a fan of virtual learning and how she is able to learn from the comfort of her bed.

“[I enjoy] being comfy at home,” Gorospe said. “I can just get up and be in my bed [to] attend my classes.”

While Dwivedi and Gorospe enjoy the flexibility virtual learning offers, graduate student John Snyder cites virtual learning’s convenience as his favorite aspect.

“[I enjoy] the convenience of being able to learn from home,” Snyder said. “I think that’s a big, big factor for [enjoying] virtual learning.” 

Senior Adam Lehnert likes how virtual lectures can be revisited through video recordings that are shared on platforms such as Moodle, unlike in-person lectures.

“I like that the lectures are recorded so I can refer back to them,” Lehnert said. 

Similarly, senior Sarah Babijaew is partial to virtual learning because it allows her to maneuver through her courses in any way she pleases. 

“I like when Moodle has all the PowerPoints and all the information put out,” Babijaew said. “I can kind of go my own pace and instead of going in order, I can jump around, which is really nice because I might think differently than other people.”

Rather than having to attend an in-person lecture at a set time, graduate student Nikita Patel is pleased that virtual learning lets her mold her own schedule. 

“[I enjoy] being able to create my own schedule and learning on my own time,” Patel said.

Virtual learning can also ease the anxiety that one might feel from an in-person classroom setting. Freshman Jenetta Justes feels relief that virtual lectures ensure that she will be heard when asking a question.

“I can just unmute and ask a question directly,” Justes said. “In a classroom, people might not hear me.”

She also appreciates that friendships have the ability to blossom virtually, even without face-to-face interaction.

“It’s not just in-person relationships that are possible, but also online [and] over a distance, so that’s really nice,” Justes said. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted college students across the world in more ways than one. It has also led to the success of tools such as virtual learning that can aid a student as they follow their journey to becoming a college graduate.