When freshman Jack Spahn decided to attend City College, 1,015 miles from his hometown in Colorado, he saw himself surfing the pacific and enjoying State Street.
But instead, Spahn is stuck in his apartment on his laptop, hoping for a more enjoyable future.
Santa Barbara County is currently in the purple tier, with the most restrictions on what can be open. Campus has been shut down for nearly a year and most students are taking classes fully online.
“I really liked the asynchronous classes because it allowed me to go whenever I wanted to watch the videos and learn the material,” said freshman student Andrea Sciabarrasi. “I didn’t have to wake up at specific times in order to attend multiple hour-long classes.”
There were some teachers that went the asynchronous route. They post all lectures on the online platform Canvas and provide students with assignments to complete at their own pace.
“Everything was just there on Canvas. The teachers allowed us to get ahead in our work which helped me manage my time so I wouldn’t miss assignments,” freshman Ken Munoz said.
Asynchronous classes provide an abundance of resources and ways to get in touch with the instructor in case students need extra support.
“They offered office hours to go in and ask questions,” said freshman, and twin of Ken Munoz, Koby Munoz. “We were welcome to come in and get help if needed.”
Although some students favored asynchronous classes, there were some advantages to courses that held mandatory Zoom lectures during set hours.
“My math class put us into breakout rooms so that we could go over the homework and quizzes with our classmates if we needed help,” Sciabarrasi said.
Synchronous classes provide a classroom setting more similar to the face-to-face variety students are accustomed to.
“I found the Zoom classes easier to learn,” Spahn said. “Having a scheduled class made my day more planned out and made me more motivated to do schoolwork.”
Online classes as a whole allowed for more flexibility for the new college student who might struggle with their new schedule.
“All of the due dates for assignments were a week after they assigned them,” Sciabarrasi said. “So it really took a lot of stress off.”
However, there were some drawbacks of an online setting compared to in-person classes.
“Online classes made it much more difficult to learn the required material,” Spahn said.
Students seem to be excited about the return to in person classes, whenever that may be.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting new people on campus and being able to get outside my apartment,” Spahn said.