How to choose the best way of online learning

As the pandemic continues, college students are stuck wondering what type of classes they should take. Since normal in-person classes are now less common and hardly an option for many, students must now adjust to online learning, but there are different types of classes to choose from.

Online classes are taught either synchronous or asynchronous. The difference between these classes is important to understand so that all students are able to choose the best option for themselves and succeed during the school year.

Synchronous classes attempt to emulate a typical school day schedule. There is a set time for the specific class for students and professors to meet online, rather than in person.

Asynchronous classes, however, have no set meeting hours. Students must work and learn on their own with little to no one on one time with the professor. This type of class does not guarantee a typical learning experience, but there are plenty of positives.

Synchronous classes

Since synchronous classes occur at specific meeting times, they allow people to keep similar or the same schedules that they had pre-pandemic.

These classes also allow for easier communication with peers and professors, which can be extremely helpful. In asynchronous classes, it would be more difficult to seek assistance from others like people normally would in person.

Synchronous classes attempt to recreate the authentic school experiences from the safety of each person’s home. It can bring comfort to many by adding consistency and familiarity to people in such a time of uncertainty.

Although synchronous classes can be a positive suitable choice for many, they do have their setbacks.

Synchronous classes typically require a lot of planning and reliable computer access to ensure that students don’t fall behind.

Asynchronous classes

Similar to synchronous classes, there are various positives to students taking asynchronous classes rather than meeting up with their classes every week.

Asynchronous classes can be an especially convenient option for students who have tight schedules with work or other obligations throughout the week that make routine meetings very difficult to attend and keep up with.

This type of online learning is helpful for people who want to learn at their own pace on their own time. Asynchronous can also help students who feel pressured or anxious showing their faces and speaking in front of their peers during an online meeting. 

Although asynchronous classes do offer a nice break from the pressures and worries of the classroom, they are a lot of work. In order for students to truly succeed in them, they must remain engaged and focused because it’s their responsibility to remember due dates, assignments and the material as a whole.

It becomes the student’s job to have a good understanding of all the material in the class and to prepare themselves for any exams, finals or papers. This can be very stressful for students who are unable to keep up in classes due to getting distracted, other daily commitments or poor time management.

Choosing what’s best for you

Both synchronous and asynchronous classes have their advantages and disadvantages, so it is ultimately up to each student to choose a schedule that works best for them.

For some, their schedules may be full of strictly asynchronous classes or strictly synchronous classes; others may even have a mix of both. As the one year mark since lockdown approaches, most people should have a good idea of what type of online learning works for them.

Ultimately, these are just online classes, not the real experience, but everyone must make the most out of this situation and continue to live life because things will get better eventually and we must be prepared for when they do.

Kimberly Argueta is a political science freshman who can be reached at [email protected]

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