by Shikira Fisher, SUNY Plattsburgh Student Contributor;
Contributed by Colleen Lemza, SUNY UFS Communications Committee
Online vs In-person Learning
In March 2020, all 64 SUNY campuses were shut down due to COVID-19. Classes swiftly switched from in-person to online. Students were attending classes only through phones and laptops. This rapid shift affected not only students but faculty and staff as well. Everyone was forced to change their known way of learning and teaching to adapt to the new normal. Now in 2023, students are back in the classroom, but in-person learning isn't the same as it was prior to COVID.
When campuses were fully remote, we saw the positives and negatives of remote learning. It became clear that in-person learning allows students and teachers to connect and communicate in a way they couldn’t do online.
“If I’m in the classroom with you I can see your face, and I can see you struggling, and I can figure out how to help. It’s hard to do that online,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at SUNY Plattsburgh Anne Herzog.
Faculty agreed that in-person learning was easier to connect with and teach students. “Most people suffer with online learning,” said Lauren Zito, an assistant professor of communication at SUNY Plattsburgh. “It’s hard to connect with students through a computer, but depending on the setting, it can be beneficial.”
Shifting from online learning to being back in the classroom was not only an adjustment for teachers, but students as well. The shift caused students’ interactions in the classroom to lessen.
“Students now are not as used to interacting with other students, especially freshmen,” said Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching Director at SUNY Oswego John Kane. “They are reluctant, motivation is lower and weaker because they spent a lot of time with remote instruction.”
As a result, both the students and teachers have had some work to do in getting used to being back in person and interacting in a classroom setting. SUNY faculty have been working hard to help students feel more comfortable with in-person instruction again.
“Helping students rebuild a sense of class and community is key to making connections better in the classroom,” said Kane.
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