Students weigh in on the positives and negatives of attending classes online

Video conferences become the alternative to in-person classrooms


Photo Illustration by Steve Hill, Times Staff

San Jose City College students discuss the challenges they face learning online via Zoom.

“Art classes were pretty easy to switch over to online format,” Madison McNamara, 24, graphic design major, wrote in an email. “However, classes like my biology class and photography class are suffering from major quality loss. Photography required a dark room and biology had a lab.”

McNamara also said that she prefers face-to-face classes because she is more motivated to study and do well when she is surrounded by her peers. Being on campus also means easy access to instructors for help.

A challenge she has experienced is that the distractions have gone up since she is doing everything from home.

“I constantly struggle to separate leisure time from work time, but I’ve gotten much better at it over the time we’ve been in quarantine,” McNamara said.

McNamara is usually on time for classes since she does not have to make the commute to campus.

“Online classes are easier because I don’t have to work and commute,” Deja J. Constantine, 19, art and teaching major, wrote in an email. “But I do miss the atmosphere of being in class. In a classroom I can completely focus on my work but at home sometimes I can’t.”

But Constantine said she prefers online classes because she has an anxiety disorder so being in the comfort of home eases some of the anxiety she has.

Although she hasn’t seen anyone for a long time, Constantine feels she is losing motivation for any work.

Jiani Mei, 24, art major, also prefers online classes as well. She wrote in an email that online classes required fewer contacts and more flexibility about time.

“I prefer online for general education classes, but I like campus classes for art. Doing art online is not really ideal,” said Mei. “Face-to-face methods are better as the teachers can give me feedback right away.”

Classes at San Jose City College moved to a remote format on May 16.

Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing tool where you can host calls with others.

Users can open chat rooms and can share the feed from their webcams, thus giving the illusion of a typical meeting.

The instructors send a link to the Zoom meeting room through email, then students simply click the link to join on the day of class.

It will be a while before students can take in-person classes again. With the change to online classes, the quality of education is in question.