i When Do Students Learn | COLLEGE WRITING: DEBATE(S) IN HIGHER EDCUATION

Ruby Castillo

For many years, traditional classroom settings have been used to teach students their lessons. Until recently, online education has been coming into play. Universities offer a wide selection of courses that are taught by some very well-known professors around the world. It gives one the opportunity to take classes anywhere at any time sometimes without a cost. The thing is that online education is not the same as an education in a classroom. Online education is more technology based while working independently. I believe that online education should not replace education in a traditional classroom setting because it is the most ideal for learning and one does not have to rely on technology that has a chance at failing.

Social interactions happen in a classroom setting and allows for learning to go on in class. Discussions are useful for generating clarity since students are able to object to things seen differently and explain why their idea is correct or not. It will help develop the mind of a student by thinking outside the box. If students are having trouble, teachers are able to communicate in the classroom with students by adjusting teaching methods so the most understanding can happen. With this, instructors can spend as much time as needed on concepts during class. Brooks, who is a writer for The New York Times, believes that a teacher in a classroom is better for students to learn: “People learn from people they love and remember the things that arouse emotion.” In a classroom, students are together with their professor for a long time. This begins to create a bond since everyone knows each other making students tend to feel more comfortable in a familiar environment. The nervousness of talking to a group of strangers disappears little by little as more time is spent with one another. Little inside jokes can trigger one to recollect something they learned about. The teacher might have made a certain concept relatable to a student. For example, my biology teacher referenced the Golgi apparatus as a postal office. It has helped me remember the function of this organelle when it is mentioned. Therefore, a classroom provides a comfortable learning environment.

A classroom setting is the best way for students to learn but it may not always be perfect. Sometimes the way that teachers teach can hold a student back. When instructors are focused on the details of projects, they can lose sight of the big picture: learning the subject at hand. My French teacher of four years, for example, gave us a rubric when she assigned a project. The rubric told us exactly what she wanted by bullet pointing everything that should be on it. The rubric was written in French and she went over it with the class so that we were clear on her expectations. She spoke in English when explaining how she wanted a project done. Speaking in English did not help us understand the language when she spoke. The rubric only helped us complete the project and be able to read in French. When hearing it, we could not make out the different words very well since a lot of the language has same sounds but different spellings. The language was understood more when it was written and read by us. My French teacher not focusing on being able to understand French through hearing it, was a disadvantage for us. Being able to read French is different from understanding it. This is not the way a classroom should look. The best classroom setting should allow the maximum learning to happen. Students should be ready to gain new knowledge. A teacher is available with many ways to help teach what they are good at.

I do not think that changing completely to online courses is a great idea because it stops one from learning. The column writer Brooks, insists with his argument against online learning, that actual learning occurs when: “There is absorbing information. There is reflecting upon information as you reread it and think about it. There is scrambling information as you test it in discussion or try to mesh it with contradictory information. Finally there is synthesis, as you try to organize what you have learned into an argument or a paper.” A classroom education offers all these tools to help a student comprehend fully, while online education only helps one absorb information. There is only reading that is happening while one is taking an online class. One is not able to take the information learned and use various methods to help apply it so that a full understanding is able to happen in the mind. An online course does not allow questions to be asked.  There are no professors or classmates available to answer any questions, leading to confusion on that concept.Only those who can learn independently would benefit from this kind of course.

Success is harder while taking online courses because it causes one to lose focus. I had the opportunity of taking an online course. I was not a big fan of it. For me, sitting at my desk looking at a screen for an hour was really boring. The maximum amount that I was able to concentrate was half an hour. I was constantly distracted by my phone or I opened up another browser and randomly surfed the web. The online course only let me read what the lesson was about. I did not have any interaction what so ever with others causing the lesson to be more boring since it was repetitive in the sense of reading, clicking the next page, etc. After a while, my eyes hurt from looking at the screen for so long. My attention was not on the information that was in front of me. I was only able to think in how uncomfortable I was. When people are taking multiple courses, it will be harder to stay concentrated on all of them.

Technology is not the most reliable, one can never know if it will fail. For example, when the electricity goes out one cannot use a desk top computer since it will not work. Also, a laptop would run out of charge and the charger would not work.  This causes the work that is online to not be able to be completed. This can negatively affect a student. They get behind in their work. A teacher will be mostly available in the class. If they are not there physically then there are other resources in the class that allow for lessons to still go on. Learning does not have to stop simply because the technology one has is not working.

In conclusion, classroom based education it the best kind of learning environment for students. An online education is lacking in tools that allow for the success of a student. A student has a wide array of tools to choose from in a classroom so that they can understand what is happening in class.

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