Following 18 months of remote learning, the return of most face-to-face classes has brought a disrupting debate regarding the educational system as we know it.
What is more efficient for students: online or in-person teaching?
Online learning has undoubtedly proven to be more than a mere substitute over the course of the pandemic.
Even now, post-pandemic, a growing number of universities are keeping blended learning in place for their students as a way to maintain flexibility and engage interactions.
A survey conducted by Platform Magazine on Nottingham Trent University’s City Campus revealed that almost 90 per cent of students believe they are doing better now that most lectures and seminars are back to traditional learning.
Jannah Almasoud, a second-year Graphic Design student, said: “Face-to-face classes push me to actually do work.
“I get very lazy when I’m back in my place and leave everything to the last minute.”
Nayanna Gracia, also a second-year Fashion Management student, added: “With online lectures it is very easy to get distracted because we can fall asleep in our lectures since I am often in my bed and in pyjamas.
“Going face-to-face is more motivating.”
On the other hand, online learning proved to be more efficient than face-to-face for 11 per cent of students who took part in the survey.
Rachel Evans, first-year Biomedical Science student, said: “Being at home online means I can work in a comforting, calming environment and I can focus on my work rather than on other things.”
While most students who took part in the survey expressed their preference towards in-person teaching (46 out of 52), there is no denying that online learning is a practical method.
Colin Alexander, senior professor in Political Communications within NTU’s School of Arts and Humanities, said: “Students and teachers alike get so much more from being together in a room to discuss the issues at hand.”
However, he added: “On my Year 2 Media Communications in the Workplace module I found that teaching online offered new possibilities to get guest speakers from far and wide to speak to the students about their careers.
“It’s simply a case of sending them the link to the session and there’s none of the faff of sorting travel expenses etc.”
Based on the survey conducted, it is clear that the majority of students at NTU believe they are doing better now that most online and lectures are mostly back in-person.
With the rapid growth of advanced technology, it was only a matter of time until online learning became a prominent educational method within universities. It provides flexibility and allows each student to work at their own pace.
However, staring at a computer screen, perhaps lying-in bed or half in formal wear, half in pyjamas, is just not as motivating and engaging as attending a class where students and lecturers can have a healthy interaction.
Lead image: Rucsandra Moldoveanu