Combating online learning’s side effects

Christopher Charleston/The Cougar

As students begin to adapt to online learning, many are experiencing the side effects of this new instruction method and it is up to them to combat these negative results. | Christopher Charleston/The Cougar

As we start our third week of online learning, most of us have realized the immense difference between a traditional classroom and Zoom university. 

There are pros and cons for each one and reasons to love one over the other, however, this online delivery method has universal side effects on students’ productivity and health. 

Productivity, or lack thereof 

If you opted to exclusively take online classes, whether synchronously or asynchronously, odds are that you are lacking motivation and are struggling to stay focused, which is understandable given the circumstances. However, your environment has a bigger role in your attention span than you might think. 

The catch of online learning is the commodity of working and studying from home; yes, it is convenient, but it is also impractical as the transition from a desk to a comfy couch or bed is almost seamless. 

Working on a cluttered desk or in your bed is a recipe for distractions and low productivity. Your mind will likely be distracted by all the stimulus around you and it will be harder to focus, which is why it is best to work on a cleared desk with little to no distractions. 

Taking a few minutes at the beginning of your day to clear your workspace can significantly improve your productivity and motivation throughout the day. 

Deteriorating health

Although racing across campus to make it to your next lecture is not exactly an Olympic sport, most of us can agree that it does give us that small endorphin rush and that light perspiration on our upper lip that we get from five minutes at the gym. 

Sometimes this slightly panicked jog to class is a sufficient amount of daily activity, but in times like these, most of us are getting little to no exercise, which is resulting in students experiencing symptoms of depression. 

Exercise can help alleviate those symptoms and even reduce stress, so consider taking time out of your school and work schedule to take a stroll outside and get some fresh air. 

Another great way to relieve some of those feelings is by socializing with loved ones. 

Although our in-person interactions are fairly limited at the moment, technology allows us to stay connected. Reaching out to a loved one can be extremely therapeutic and regenerating when you are feeling blue; you can even call them while you are going for a walk. 

Aside from reduced activity and interaction, constant computer usage can have negative side effects on our vision. 

If you are experiencing constant headaches, if your eyes can’t seem to focus for periods of time or if you have blurred or double vision, you might be experiencing computer vision syndrome, which is caused by prolonged screen usage

Your eyes can get tired, which can cause some discomfort, and the best remedy is to simply let them rest. The 20-20-20 rule consists of taking a break from screens around every 20 minutes and looking at something that is 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds; this method is a simple, yet an effective way to give your eyes much needed relief. 

As we all adapt to this new learning environment, it is up to you to avoid the pitfalls of online education and make sure you are taking care of you. So, maybe go for a walk and call up a friend. 

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

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