By: Paulina Medina
Online education while undesired by some, has many benefits and should be embraced as a desirable method of learning. As we continue to navigate and learn in a difficult time face to face instruction is gone and school activities are performed virtually. The future of traditional education at ELAC is uncertain.
As we enter the 2021 Winter session, the Los Angeles Community College District will continue to offer most of its courses in an online format to the dismay of some student’s. Others, however, share an opposing view. They are content and satisfied with the shift in teaching.
Online methods of teaching have existed for years. When the COVID-19 crisis began in mid-March, the LACCD was required to shift its courses to the online format of Zoom and Canvas as a means of learning.
Psychology and Child Development major student, Miriam Robles, enjoys the flexibility of online learning. She likes the opportunity to revisit any previous recording of lectures, which is beneficial especially to those who miss a class. Professors tend to be more lenient with their office hours. “As long as you keep up with deadlines, you’ll be fine,” Robles said.
Many courses are now required to be completed online. While that shift seemed drastic at first, it appears many students have adapted to this shift in learning.
Another major change was the adjustment of how performance based and communications courses are taught. Theatre Arts usually occurs in a group setting with students reciting dialogue. Now performances occur in front of classmates while transmitting through a properly placed camera in the comfort of one’s home via Zoom.
Although such scenes are not occurring on stage and in the presence of countless cheering fans, that does not mean that both the performers and audience members have to be deprived of this great experience.
Many ELAC plays such as Spoon River Anthology have gone on to be successfully performed online. Speech and debate tournaments such as Diablo Valley College ‘The DVC thing’ brought together dozens of community college and four year college students from Alaska to Illinois to compete virtually and the tournament flourished.
Theatre Arts student, Jessica Wong, acknowledges that while “online learning has been a challenge, it has taught me so much. I have learned at my own pace and feel more at peace since I am not surrounded by so many energies,” Wong said.
The in-person experiences, such as walking down hallways and greeting fellow students, are momentarily gone. Yet, There are many advantageous parts to learning in the current state. Zoom courses, both synchronous and asynchronous, are the current norm. Even after the COVID-19 crisis is over, online classes will not be going away entirely.
While the flexible teaching format may be irritating at times due to its connectivity issues or spotty Wi-Fi, it has proven to be an excellent vehicle to deliver classroom instruction.This format will gain popularity in the foreseeable future.
Nearly all the services that were accessible only on campus are now available with a simple click. Services such as English tutoring, Math tutoring, counseling and financial aid are readily available via Zoom.
It is important to note that some classes have not been able to make the shift from in person to online. Physical education courses may not be able to make that shift because they require actual physical participation.
Though one’s educational journey should not be put on hold over COVID-19 and while elements such as social activities, face to face contact and normal human interaction are currently on hold with our district, the rest still goes on.
Many students improvised, adapted, overcame and chose to continue their education. This current system will be normalized not only in education but in many life facets as many private sectors are shifting to working remotely.
Thus, it is crucial to begin adapting and embracing online Zoom learning and its format. Life will very likely adapt to this change in the near future. In fact it already has, but we have not realized it yet.