I had taken a few online courses in university in conjunction with in-person classes. I only took online courses if there were time conflicts with the in-person classes or if no other option was available. I had always preferred learning in person. Having a set schedule provided a routine for me to follow and I liked being able to meet and connect with people in my class.
The online classes I took had a bunch of pre-recorded videos and notes readily available to look through. I was responsible for setting my own schedule to get through the material and making sure I didn’t fall behind. I didn’t interact with anybody else taking the course and there weren’t any memorable moments from that experience.
After being accepted into the Juno Web Development program, I had to dive into online learning once again. Normally Juno’s classes are in-person but the pandemic forced the shift. Since the program revolved around computers, taking it online didn’t seem too terrible.
What was the verdict after taking a full time accelerated online course for over 9 weeks? For me, I realized there were so many unanticipated silver linings to the online structure. Some of them were: saving time commuting/getting ready in the morning, cooking meals during lunch breaks or cleaning things in my apartment, and I didn’t have to carry around my laptop.
The lessons were taught live with a set schedule, which really helped me remain on track. There were a lot of office hours and instructors were easily accessible through Slack. Our entire class was on Slack while using Zoom. I found it a lot easier to type questions than raising my hand in person to ask something. It was a lot easier to joke around and share links and images as well.
Another thing we discovered we liked doing was helping each other debug whenever we ran into issues with our code. We could easily share our screens and work together to figure out the issue. Before online classes, instructors would privately help any student that had issues. The instructors had talked about how they had anticipated it would be difficult to help individuals if they couldn’t go over to their computer during a normal in-person class. They soon discovered how much more fun it became online doing it together with the rest of the class.
While I have not met any of my classmates or instructors in person, I truly do feel like I’ve made lasting connections with them that will extend past the completion of this program. There are many benefits to physical learning inside a classroom, and there are still quite a few drawbacks to online learning. That being said, this experience has taught me that online learning can be a worthwhile endeavor and I hope this type of structure will stick around and still be available as an alternative to the traditional classroom structure.