Not exactly what you’d expect to hear from one of the hundreds of thousands of university students worldwide who now find themselves earning their degrees completely online.
No doubt, the transition to online learning due to COVID-19 was sudden and hasty. But the Master in Public Health student at Harvard University told Study International that all things considered, it’s been a positive experience.
“In many ways, it feels like we’ve been on track for this for some time, with virtual events, growing ubiquitousness of online spaces, and such,” the part-time student said.
“Overall I think it’s been pretty successful; in some cases, I actually feel more engaged given that I can see everyone very closely and vice versa. The discussion is also more interactive.”
With the current COVID-19 pandemic grounding flights and temporarily stalling travel, many students have put their study abroad plans on hold.
While you may not be able to be somewhere physically right now, it doesn’t mean you can’t earn an online degree or certificate from an overseas university.
And as Jenna attests, it doesn’t mean classes will be any less interactive or engaging either just because they are no longer conducted in 100-person lecture halls or laboratories.
When done right, online learning comes with many benefits. Considering that universities may not be going back to in-person classes for at least a couple more months, with some experts estimating it would take up to a year before a coronavirus vaccine becomes commercially available, this should come as welcome news for all those planning to go to university in 2020.
Read on for more major benefits of online learning:
If you’ve got a full-time job, family obligations, or just study better on a flexible schedule instead of a fixed one, online degrees lets you save commuting time and complete modules at your own pace and schedule.
You can study in the morning, afternoon, evening or night — whatever works best for you, instead of adhering to a class schedule.
You have your own learning environment
One of the benefits of online learning is that can create an environment that works for you when you’re an online learner.
Instead of having to soundproof your room because of noisy housemates or having to hunt for a spot in a crowded university library, you can set up your own quiet space in your room or another area of the house.
If you aren’t feeling productive at home, you can also study in a community library or a cafe, whatever is best for you. Some people find in-person classes distracting, so if you’re one of them you don’t have to worry about this with an online programme.
Some people also learn better in online environments compared to traditional classroom settings.
James Healy, another student in the Master in Public Health programme at Harvard Medical School, observed that the transition has been pretty easy as they had been using Zoom for some classes in the past.
While he feels it detracts from the university experience, it’s a pretty good alternative due to the circumstances.
He said, “Interestingly, I have noticed that it is easier for some students to speak up in class as they are not as intimidated by being in a lecture hall with over one hundred people and are instead at ease by the comfort of their room.”
Today’s online students also have the benefit of using social media to interact with one another.