Distance Learning: Is it For Better Or For Worse?


Katherine Carroll, Staff Writer

In March of 2020, students rejoiced at the idea of Distance Learning. No more waking up early, no more sitting in class all day, no more small lunch periods, and all for two weeks! Two weeks of freedom and easy-going days. However, two weeks turned into four, and four weeks turned into two months, and two months turned into the whole year. Soon, students were dying to get back into school and see their teachers. So many fun events had to be cancelled, and the year was basically ruined. But there was summer, right? Things should have calmed down…but they didn’t. When everyone thought they were finally going back to school and seeing their friends and teachers, the school announced that they would start the first quarter with all distanced learning. 

On September 9th, when over 400 students logged onto their school-issued chromebooks for the first time, they had no idea what to expect. Not even the teachers knew what was going to happen. Last year, everyone was used to working at their own pace. Teachers would post assignments in the morning and students would complete them by the end of the day. Zoom meetings were a rarity, but now zoom meetings are their life. Every day for 7 hours, students would attend zoom meetings and stare at a screen all day. This quickly drained them all out, and everyone knew things had to change.

The Evolution of Distance Learning

When Distance Learning was first introduced, people liked it. Students got to work at their own pace, completing the assignments as they went. There were no tests, and the long hours of doing homework disappeared. Students were able to log on whenever they chose, and complete their assignments by the end of the day.  SAT’s were canceled, and some colleges didn’t even require SAT scores anymore because it was impossible to test. It was easy, and it left plenty of time for other activities, like bike riding, hiking, sports, and spending more time with family.

As time went on, students got used to this schedule…a little too used to it. Assignments were being handed in late, work was missing, and it was really hard to communicate. Problems started to arise, and everyone knew there was something that needed to be done. The only question was, what?

No one expected  what came next: daily 7 hours of Zooms, staring at a screen all day, and school literally being brought to your house. There were certain class periods everyone needed to follow, strict zoom rules, and even homework was appearing again. Life changed and suddenly school was back. The easy-going days of early distance learning were a far-off dream.

How do Students Feel?

Out of everyone, it’s the students that have the most affected by Distance Learning. They’re the ones sitting everyday one zooms, and they’re the ones with the most homework. These students are experiencing that no other generation has gotten before. Let’s hear what they have to say.

“I believe online learning was low, as some subjects really require hands-on learning,” one student said. You’ll find that most students agree: distance learning just isn’t the same. It’s much harder for students to learn when they’re staring at a screen all day. When it comes to some classes, like STEM. This is especially hard. Some classes that normally allow students to have hands-on experiences are gone now. School is a lot more boring, and therefore some information is just in-one-ear-out-the-other for students.

“[I’ll] definitely prefer in-person learning to distance learning,” a freshman said, “It’s easier to ask for help and talk with the teacher in person than on a computer.” Like before, students agree. When you’re in person, you’re able to get that encouraging smile or that extra hint to help you out with a problem. You don’t have to worry about WiFi issues or being muted when you’re in person. Everyone is eager to be in physical school again, and once we do go back I’m sure it’ll have positive effects on students.

The Changes in Distance Learning

Recently, lots of changes have been made to Distance Learning. School was opened, but what will this be like? Will it be better or worse? Yes, it will be great to be back in the building, but what if things go wrong? Sadly, that’s what happened here. Due to an increase in cases, the school has been shut down after only four days in the building. All students have been moved back to Distance Learning for the next two weeks. There will never be a perfect solution to this, and that’s something we have to accept. But we can always keep trying, and one day things will go back to normal.