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The Current

Stark comparisons between in-person vs. distance learning

Students were able to acknowledge the benefits and disadvantages of both in-person and distance learning. Photo by Maya Bussinger

Having had a whole semester to experience distance learning, Bruins and staff can finally reach a verdict: whether in-person or distance learning is better. The verdict favored in-person learning.

Contrary to intuition, students were able to find a little good in distance learning.

One such student, Junior Madeline Walters, gave her reasons on why to like the situation.

“It’s cool that we don’t really have to physically get up and go somewhere and be uncomfortable,” she said. 

With similar sentiment, Junior Aden Mattson listed some points.

“I don’t like having to wake up early and the actual commute to get to school, whether it be by bus or car, I would much rather not have to go anywhere,” he said. 

However, the reasons in favor of distance learning were dwarfed by the list of its pitfalls. 

Junior Jake Vogt entirely disliked this way of conducting school, citing many problems.

“I really hate distance learning. Lag and internet issues make it extremely hard and with my mental illness, it makes it excruciatingly difficult to stay motivated and pay attention in classes. I cannot think of any pros to distance learning,” said Vogt. “Furthermore, some teachers don’t take into account the workload they are assigning; they tend to think that since we are at home for longer periods of time, we are able to handle more work when nearly the opposite is true.”

Vogt really enjoyed going to school in-person.

“When I go to school normally, these issues aren’t nearly as much of a problem as it is currently. I am able to more freely interact with peers and teachers and get their opinions and one on one help.”

Mattson was concerned by not seeing as many friends in-person.

“I love being able to hang out with my friends in-person rather than online, and really miss seeing them.”

Walters held an equivalent viewpoint when asked about what she missed the most about in-person learning.

“Friends!!! I miss y’all,” she said. 

Digital Media Arts Teacher Christina Levinson also weighed in on the topic, first giving some credit to distance learning.

Distance learning has been great for me on a personal level,” she said. “I have way more time for my kids, which is awesome,” she said.  “It’s also been good for my health, since I never go to Combie Starbucks anymore. I’m saving tons of money too.”

Mrs. Levinson remarked she prefers in-person learning, citing the drawbacks of distance learning.

I prefer the normal school routine with in-person attendance,” she said. What I hate about distance learning is that classes that need to do practical stuff away from a computer have been hugely affected. My poor video students can’t shoot videos at school. The yearbook students can’t cover the school year very easily. We’re muddling through, but it’s sort of a mess to deal with tasks that used to be so easy.”

Mrs. Levinson concluded her ideas with some words of wisdom.

Every generation has challenges,” she said. “My grandparents suffered through World War II and the Great Depression. My parents lived through Vietnam and the draft. My younger years were marked by 9/11, terrorism and the Iraq War. I think COVID-19 is this generation’s challenge. Distance learning is terrible in many ways, but it does keep us safe. Just like all those other historic eras, I believe this too will pass.”

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Stark comparisons between in-person vs. distance learning