Why I try to attend class in-person

Patrick Ullmer | Photo Courtesy
Coming to campus is the responsible option.

Online classes encourage laziness

Much concern has been amassed concerning the safety of the classroom. With the risk of danger to student health, NDSU invested in making classes accessible to students from their electronic devices.

These safety protocols have been very disorienting for many students, but have been generally accepted. Students have thus acknowledged the online learning format and have adapted to it. This is constructive in terms of accessibility but can also be destructive in terms of learning.

I will explain how this new format has been helpful but also difficult in my experience as well as the reasoning behind why I try to attend in-person classes when I can.

There are typically three kinds of learners; there are the auditory, the visual and the kinesthetic. The auditory learn by listening to lectures, the visual learn by watching examples and the kinesthetic learn by doing. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the kinesthetic only make up about 14 percent of the equation, with auditory taking up 26 percent and visual taking up 33 percent (the remaining 27 percent includes a mixture of learners who use multiple styles). I happen to be that 14 percent.

When a class can be accessed with the push of a button, how long would you pay attention to the lecture before your mind inevitably wanders? For me, it is difficult to stay focused when I pull up a class lecture on a window filled with endless useless information, or when in the comfort of my own home.

The option to turn off one’s webcam is also a problem. My fifth-grade teacher would tell the class, “Look at me so I at least think you are paying attention.” When one takes away the option to visually prove they’re watching or listening to the lecture, the temptation to not pay attention is stronger.

The reason I try to attend class in-person is due to the fact that I want to learn. It is difficult to learn from a screen that you can pull up anytime and become too comfortable with to be attentive. Before quarantine, class seemed to be a must—show up or drop out. It was more serious. Now, it is too accessible, encouraging laziness.

It is understandable to attend online if a student is out of state, busy, ill or afraid to become ill with the possible airborne coronavirus particles on campus. But I prefer to try being responsible and showing up to learn as the more work put into learning, the more that is learned. Besides, the grades for the classes I show-up to are immensely better than the ones I simply tune in to.

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