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Should colleges and universities open in person for the Fall 2020 semester? Show more Show less
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The COVID-19 pandemic has left the future of colleges and universities in a state of utter uncertainty. Across the world they are struggling to come up with safe and equitable strategies for reopening, but which one is best?

Yes – Students should be allowed back on campus for in-person classes Show more Show less

Colleges should reopen their doors in the fall and allow students to come back to campus. Nothing can beat the on-campus experience, and students deserve the opportunity to experience this.
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Students learn better in person

Students are paying for a college education and therefore deserve the tools which enable them to learn. Colleges should have students back on campus so that they are able to get the most out of their education.

The Argument

The prospect of online university courses is daunting for students who struggle to learn online but have no other alternative for their fall semester. Online learning platforms isolate students from each other and from their professors, creating an un-engaging learning platform. The lack of engagement and potential for distractions lead to higher rates of students dropping or failing a class.[1] Many students simply lack the motivation to learn independently online. Additionally, the lack of interaction with professors can harm student's ability to learn the content and will have to do extra work to find answers on their own or wait to get in touch with professors through email or video call which could take hours or days complete as proffers become overwhelmed by struggling students who need their attention.[2] Many students furthermore lack a home environment conducive to learning. Some struggle to find a quiet place to work, and others have struggled to not get distracted by TV and video games.[2] Many students are ill-equipped to learn online, affecting their ability to have a successful and meaningful semester.

Counter arguments

Some students do learn better in the classroom, but online learning introduces accessibility and flexibility to established learning models. [3] The pandemic has opened up the world of online learning systems which has made higher education more accessible for many students. International students can access foreign universities without the hassle of traveling, allowing for a greater network of educational exchanges. And students who are unable to ordinarily attend traditional universities because of physical distance, mental and physical health reasons, or financial instability will now have the opportunity to access to content that they never used to.[3] Online learning is much more flexible than traditional in-person sessions. Online courses can be fit around their existing schedules because they are not fixed in time, rather they're accessible at all hours of the day. This is especially relevant for students who work, have children, or live in a different time zone to their university.[3] The traditional model of higher education has been relatively inaccessible to certain pockets of the population who have had to forgo higher education due to health concerns, social and socioeconomic issues, and a host of other obstacles in life. Online learning bridges this gap and delivers higher education to those who have previously been left out of the higher education framework.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Students learn from their peers as well as their professors. [P2] Online learning cannot replicate the classroom experience. [P3] Colleges should, therefore, reopen with in-person classes.

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://cw.ua.edu/64870/opinion/face-to-face-learning-is-better-than-online/
  2. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/tanyachen/students-say-theyre-struggling-with-online-classes-in
  3. https://theconversation.com/five-ways-online-university-learning-can-be-better-than-face-to-face-teaching-139127

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 3 Sep 2020 at 22:53 UTC

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