Online VS In-Person Classes: Student Perspectives

Staff Writer: Juliana Fiorilli 

From March of 2019 until the fall semester of 2021, classes were attended mostly online, or a hybrid of online and in-person courses. After the shock wore off and students began to get used to attending online classes, a year of college was finished for most students without ever meeting in-class.

The two types of classes show differences in grades, interpersonal relationships, learning experience, and the student experience overall.

In a survey of 12 students from Wingate University, the results were split in half between the class preference types. These results showed that one-half of the students preferred online classes while the other half preferred in-person classes.

With the responses being this varied, one student said, “They’re better in person than online.” Meanwhile, other students said it was easier to do school work online but actually learn more when they attend in-person.

Three-quarters of the students said that they retained greater information from attending in-person courses. However, when given the choice, over half of the students would prefer to attend their classes online. A student said, “I don’t focus well online and I get really distracted by other things. However, if I can choose to go online for in-person some days that works too.”

Over half of the students, 67 percent said that their grades differed between the two types of classes. A student responded, “Although I have not seen a huge change in my grades between online and in-person classes, I believe it was easier online but also more self-learning.”

Other student responses said that they were more focused during in-person classes, “I am better hands-on and focused on seeing someone teach,” while others said, “I had better grades online because I feel more focused.”

Nine out of 12 of the students said that they had difficulty adjusting to going back to all in-person classes. Students said it was extremely hard to adapt to a new routine and having to physically be present after attending online classes for over a year.

In the question, “Do you think there is a loss of connection between peers/administration being in online classes?” 11 out of the 12 students said yes. One student said, “Absolutely, as a commuter, it’s already hard to feel like I know people on campus, and when we moved online it only made me care less about meeting new people.”

Other students said that the lack of connection stems from not being able to see anyone’s face and no one wanting to press that unmute button to interact during online classes. Adjusting to all online classes was difficult for students, but going back to all in-person classes was just as stressful. Everyone’s learning style and preferences are different.

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