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Friday, May 29, 2020

Opinion

Although at times inconvenient, online education has a small silver lining


Jiselle Santos/ The Cougar

Jiselle Santos/ The Cougar

Although online education may be more convenient for some students, I cannot wait to go back to a traditional classroom setting. 

I wholeheartedly believe online classes were the best option available, and I am thankful for all of the UH faculty and staff that accommodated students and eased them into online learning. 

But, there were some courses that did not translate well into an online class; they were designed for a traditional classroom setting. 

When remote learning began, I felt like I was missing opportunities to collaborate with my peers and to foster relationships with my professors. 

As a journalism major, most of my classes required me to interact with people, but when campus closed, the possibilities of me practicing in the field were gone.

My professors scrambled to redesign their classes in a few weeks and did a phenomenal job given the circumstances, but I know that we didn’t meet some of the class objectives, which is kind of upsetting. 

I am eager to return to a more traditional classroom setting, but I also understand that these decisions take time and require a lot of certainty about the future; two elements that are pretty scarce right now.  

Looking at the future

The uncertainty of the pandemic has affected everything, including when and how schools will reopen for the upcoming year. 

UH is considering making modifications to class sizes in order for campus to reopen for fall 2020. This plan would most likely turn all classes with more than 50 students into online classes in order to follow the social-distancing guidelines.

However, there are some universities that are considering pushing off their reopenings until 2021.  

No matter what our fall semesters will look like, it is certain that summer classes will be online. 

Lessons from online education

I know that some professors hated online education just as much as students did but despite all the negative aspects of this situation, there is a silver lining. 

Now that I have seen the other side, I am much more appreciative of our campus and the faculty and staff who help our community.

This experience has made me realize how much I overlooked the benefits of traditional learning. I remember complaining about having back to back classes or having to drive to school in Houston traffic, but now the minor inconveniences of traditional learning seem so obsolete in comparison to the hurdles of online education. 

I took for granted the possibility of face-to-face interaction with my professors and the collaboration with my peers. There were days where I wanted to skip class and I would tell myself I would catch up later, but this pandemic has made me realize how lucky we are to have a physical campus to attend, and professors to guide us.  

I know that it will be a while before we can go back to any kind of normal, but I hope that in the new version of normal, there will be a higher sense of appreciation for our campus, the faculty and staff and our peers.  

Gina Medina is a journalism senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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