Editorial: Why In-Person Learning Should not be Taken for Granted

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With all the events happening around the world right now, it seems like the topic we could not escape for two years is starting to vanish from our TV screens and social media feeds– COVID-19.

While health officials are hesitant to say that the pandemic is over, it is certainly clear that life is starting to look more normal than it did two years ago.

New Jersey and Rowan University have both lifted their mandatory mask mandates. Many restaurants and stores have stopped asking for proof of vaccination to enter. And most students and teachers are finally back in the classroom.

Compared to last year, when most students were learning from the comfort of their bedrooms, Rowan’s campus is more alive than ever. Looking back, remote learning brought its own set of challenges for some, and benefits for others.

Here at The Whit, our staff had a discussion about whether in-person learning is more beneficial or if virtual learning is just as good. Some of us think that in-person classes are more beneficial because they force us to get up and out of our bedrooms and make us more motivated to participate in classes causing more information to be retained. Some even said that being in a classroom is better for their mental health than sitting alone in their room looking at a screen. 

However, others on our staff enjoyed the convenience of online learning. Since some of us are commuters, virtual classes were easy on our gas tanks and opened up our schedules. 

Our Co-Editor-in-Chief, Joel Vazquez-Juarbe, took the discussion out of the newsroom and onto his Instagram account to see what other Rowan students thought about being back to in-person learning. Out of the 43 people that responded to his Instagram poll, 39 of them said that in-person classes are better and four said that remote classes do the job just as well.

A common theme with in-person supporters was engagement. One user said “there’s more incentive to pay attention in an in-person class than an online class.” Another reason why some Rowan students prefer being in the classroom is because they can interact and socialize with their peers and professors.

“It’s so much better to interact with my professors in-person, and I’m not as distracted,” one user responded.

According to a study done by Insider Higher Ed, 35% of students surveyed said that they were satisfied to return back to the classroom and 29% said they were dissatisfied. Getting back to the classroom is an adjustment especially after being cooped up in our rooms for almost a year and a half. And while remote learning was convenient and comfortable, that’s also the exact reason why in-person learning is necessary.

Almost all the students who participated in our poll said that returning to the classroom made them motivated again. From just getting out of bed to participating in class, Rowan students enjoy being in the classroom because they aren’t in their comfort zone anymore. The classroom setting is not only a place where students grow academically, but a place where they learn important life skills, and virtual learning can’t always integrate that.

If there’s anything the pandemic has taught us, it is that we shouldn’t take sitting in a classroom for granted. 

For comments/questions about this story, tweet @TheWhitOnline or email Thewhitopinion23@gmail.com.

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