When comparing my schedule this semester to what I had last semester, the difference is quite intense. Fall 2021 brought forth two in-person classes and three online courses. Now, in my Spring 2022 semester, I am faced with five in-person courses, as well as a late-night, two hour lab that involves computer work that could be done from home. As I continue looking at what my courses are, I find myself wondering: should some courses simply be hosted online? Or, in other words, should there be more remote offerings for those who want it?
The concept of remote learning, as well as remote work in general, was formed due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected everyone’s lives since March of 2020. Because of the pandemic, everyone was forced to stay at home halfway through the Spring 2020 semester. Because of this, professors had to switch their methods of teaching and go strictly online. Fall 2020 brought forth a new way of learning, and allowed many students to remain at home. Since then, there was a gradual decrease of remote course availability, with virtually none (or close to none) being offered this semester.
Some people find this method of learning a complete burden; but, some people (including me) find it to be an amazing opportunity. The idea behind remote learning allows us to take classes, or do work, in a location that we find comfortable. To some, this location might be a classroom setting; to others, it may be their bedroom. Remote learning truly allows us to take a course where we want. If Siena were to increase their remote options again, this would allow for the student population to pick and choose to their comfort level.
Remote courses also allow us to create flexibility within our schedules, without the extreme pressure of arriving at a classroom at a certain time of the day. Because of this, we are able to take advantage of many other opportunities that college has to offer. Some of these opportunities may include internships, on or off-campus work, or even just some more (and much needed) social time with friends and family. With the extreme return to our “new normal,” students are heavily overwhelmed with the return to in-person instruction.
Not only are students overwhelmed when returning to class, but many classes have bombarded us with extra work in comparison to the work we got before the pandemic occurred. Many professors have already taken on a “teach-it-yourself” approach, where students are expected to, in practice, teach themselves outside of the classroom; through this method, students spend their in-person class time discussing what they worked on the previous night.
Through the use of remote learning, we can also learn valuable skills as students. Some of these skills may include time management, importance of work ethic, and the need for breaks. You may argue that being in-class also allows for the development of these skills, but with the combination of in-person and remote courses, this could make for a greater building of these skills. On top of that, with the technological and workplace switch to remote preferences, why don’t we prepare our students for this possibility by giving them some remote/online experience?
Though I think Siena needs to allow for a continued amount of basic remote courses, I do agree that some courses should remain in-person. As a Marketing major, I find my Major courses to be extremely helpful when hosted in-person. When I have a Marketing-related course hosted online, I tend to feel a little lost (depending on the subject matter being taught). But, if it is a class that does not pertain to my major-for example, a subject such as History or Science, then I see the value of learning it at my own pace, and in an online format. I think every student would agree that if they’re a science-related major (as an example), they wouldn’t want to go out of their way to attend a 6-9:00PM Art class on Wednesdays in Foy Hall.
As someone who has taken a good amount of both in-person and online classes, I do see the value in both formats. Because of this, I, among numerous other students, and even a few professors, would love to see some of the remote options to return. Not only does it cater better to the general student population, but it also drives Siena into an adapting direction.