U Students Discuss the Effectiveness of Online Classes


Hailey Danielson

U student studying in 2021. (Photo by Hailey Danielson | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Elizabeth Sietz



COVID-19 and its corresponding effects have had most students in online classes for almost a year now. The Census Bureau reported in Aug. 2020, “Nearly 93% of people in households with school-age children reported their children engaged in some form of ‘distance learning.’”

The University of Utah went fully online in March 2020, and with the exception of a few in-person classes, has remained that way for the following semesters. Online classes provide a different learning experience than in-person, and some U students discussed whether or not it is conducive to learning.

“Watching lectures on top of the added discussion posts and such just feels like it’s more. It might not be her intentions but that is how it comes off to the students,” said junior English major Morgan Ralston about her Fanfic and Adaptation class.

When Ralston took it the first time, it was completely in person, but now the class is all online and asynchronous. The work has shifted to a format where it’s all out of class, instead of its previous format it was split between in-class and out-of-class, which she said has also added stress.

“Online has been a struggle. With my learning disabilities, it was not treated the way it should,” said sophomore kinesiology major Katarina Alexander.

She went on to talk about how a main factor in retaking a class was so she could take it in person to make sure she was getting the accommodations she needs.

Alexander also said she thinks the in-person structure is so much better because ADHD and a processing disorder made the online structure more difficult. For her, in-person is better for time management and she was more motivated to do the work.

However, sophomore Health, Society, and Policy major Sydney Shiffman said she thinks it depends on the person on whether in person or online was better.

For her, taking Biology 1610 online was a better structure. She could take the lectures at her own pace and had online resources when needed for the homework that would have been in-class assignments had the class been in person.

Shiffman also said that when she took the class in person, it was too easy to get distracted since the class was taught in a large lecture hall. It also helped that the work was due at the end of the week instead of the end of the class period.

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