A Student's Perspective: Is Online Learning Really Effective?
by Edward Sanchez
We understand that changing class modality to online classes is not ideal, but here at Texas Tech University- Costa Rica, we are proud to say that the transition has been successful. Our students have been pleased with the results, and that is why we took this opportunity to share the experience of one of our students.
Hi Red Raiders, my name is Edward Sanchez and I would like to share my experience with online learning at Texas Tech-Costa Rica.
Going to class is my favorite part of TTU-CR because you have the opportunity of speaking with people who are geniuses in their field. Nevertheless, given the circumstances, the change to online learning has been equally rewarding.
I’m double majoring in Computer Engineering and Mathematics, so my curriculum mostly revolves around computer science, electrical engineering, and mathematics courses. Being a part of the engineering curriculum has certain implications, given that all of my professors are extremely methodical and organized in their approach to learning. The entire schedule is pre-determined-- the chapters we will cover, the problems we should be able to complete, and the pace we need to keep. Because of this, the switch to online classes hasn’t been that dramatic.
Many people think learning technical subjects online is extremely difficult, but in fact one of the benefits of online classes is that there is a lot more flexibility. Because all of my lectures are recorded, I am able to go back and relisten to any of them whenever I want. Even though not being able to talk about abstract concepts in person is in fact harder, it has forced me to engage deeper with what I am learning.
This whole experience has also helped me organize my time more wisely. I have to keep up with my readings and fully understand all of the class material. Reading a chapter about AC circuit analysis, how to solve a system of differential equations, or learning about how to calculate eigen vectors, takes a great deal of time, so I usually dedicate several hours a week to reading chapters and taking notes.
This semester I decided I wouldn’t take any humanities courses, so all of my classes are fundamentally explained with mathematics or an equation, but thankfully all of my professors are experts in their fields and can explain everything with great clarity, even via Zoom. Dr. Anthony Gruber, my mathematics professor for differential equations, has a familiarity with logic and an ability to show his mathematical steps very cleanly. I have never meet anyone else who is an expert in differential geometry!
There are of course some classes that are harder than others. My biggest challenge right now has been my Object-Oriented Programming class, because in programming your project is always a deliverable that you can use, test or play with. Now that the semester is almost over, I’m building a board game desktop application using java for my final project.
For an undergraduate student in 2000 and 3000 level classes, there comes a point when you realize you have SO MUCH more to learn before you graduate, and you have to accept this enormous mountain you have to scale, which represents complex things you need to learn, such as: Laplace transform, partial differential equations, electro magnetism, quantum mechanics, and much more. I know that as soon as I am done with these classes, I will still only be scratching the surface, which is exciting to think about since there is so much more left to discover.