Recently online education and virtual environment in colleges and universities became more widespread due to COVID-19. Some argue that it is more convenient as it allows to be more flexible and tends to be more inclusive for international students. Still, the traditional life on campus has its indispensable benefits, with socialization being the most essential. This essay will compare and contrast online and on-campus life in college in terms of experience and education.
On-campus life has always complemented the learning process during college and university. It is a chance for people worldwide to gather and make new acquaintances while living on campus. The campus provides essential services, food, and housing, serving as a smooth transition between childhood and independent adult life. Youth has a perfect experience of life without parents, but at the same time, they are not alone and always have someone near to help. In contrast, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, many people choose to remain in their host country with their parents because of a lack of necessity in the relocation. In some states, many restrictions make it impossible to move in the campus for some people. On the one hand, it allows the younger adults to devote more time to study as they mostly continue living in the same household with their parents and do not have to bear the burden of independent living. Moreover, it is a better option for low-income families. Still, it complicates personality formation and delays growing up, as the responsibility for a person’s life still lies with the parents.
From the point of view of education, there is also no clear answer which way is better. According to Shearer et al., despite the fact that online education provides many opportunities for flexibility, individual approach, and interactive learning, the USA still struggles to implement these benefits (36). Still, the rapid development of technologies makes the distant life in college rather entertaining and informative. Such apps as Zoom and Microsoft Teams make it possible to recreate the real-life environment without leaving home with the help of video and audio communication and such functions as ‘raise a hand.’ The whiteboard can replace the traditional board; the tests can be written in apps, for example, Socrative. Still, face-to-face communication with professors and classmates is more than that. The education process is greatly influenced by the human factor, which any technology cannot recreate. Another issue is transparency and quality of the study, as it is almost impossible to ensure the integrity of the exams in the online format. Lastly, teamwork, which is an important part of many colleges, is only partly possible without encounters in real life and on campus. In the virtual environment, it usually resembles several individual works combined into one.
To conclude, there are advantages and drawbacks of both online and on-campus life during college. It greatly depends on which way of life and learning is more appropriate to them. Life on campus undoubtedly helps with socialization brings more experience both in and beyond the college. In contrast, a virtual environment can be a good solution for people who still want to remain in their comfort zone. Although technologies allow almost to recreate the real-life and study, communication is still not that intense and productive. Therefore, it seems that on-campus life is a better option when studying in college.
Shearer, Rick L., et al. “What students want: A vision of a future online learning experience grounded in distance education theory.” American Journal of Distance Education, vol. 34, no. 1, 2020, pp. 36-52.