Student Voices: what’s the right balance between face-to-face and online instruction in college?

For Jannah Geraldo, a 20-year-old majoring in print and digital journalism at Fresno State University, returning to campus is still something she has to get used to.

Geraldo, who returned to face-to-face classes in the fall semester 2021, said the experience of going back to campus with Fresno state’s roughly 24,000 student population felt different because of one common denominator: Covid-19. Although the pandemic has moderated things on campus, Geraldo is not afraid.

“I feel pretty safe going in person,” said Geraldo, who has returned to personal classes after a hiatus during the onset of the pandemic. One of the reasons she felt safe was because of the hybrid course option.

“The communication aspect is different with online courses, because you are not personal,” she said. “There’s a weird time lag between talking to professors and classmates that you don’t get in a personal classroom.”

Geraldo said one advantage of online learning versus face-to-face learning is that professors seem to respond more quickly to requests for help. Before the pandemic, she said, it sometimes took her professors days to respond to an email. Today, many respond within hours.

Geraldo said she feels safe on campus because she has been vaccinated, but she wants to get the booster shot as soon as possible. She hopes that the majority of classes will soon be delivered in person.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they push more for in-person classes, but they can’t avoid hybrid options anymore,” Geraldo said, “because students were exposed to it and now realize it can cater more to students’ personal schedules.”

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