How Online College Has Affected Students

woman writing on a notebook beside teacup and tablet computer
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on

Emily Goss Guildea

Another year of online studies, a handful of in-person classes and the college “social life” still different from how it used to be. 

Students around the country have been affected immensely due to their studies being taught online, taking away the constant in-classroom learning and the classes that are in person are now only permitted to 45-minute learning time, due to government regulations. So, how are students finding college this semester?

An Instagram survey was set out to investigate whether students prefer college online or in-person and how the pandemic has affected their studies. One student from Technology University Dublin, who wishes to remain anonymous stated, “I used to be a very good student until online college and covid shattered my mental health,” they then went on to say that they were not receiving their money’s worth within their education. “My course needs a lot of communication from lecturers and that collapsed this year.”

When asked on an Instagram poll conducted by a student from TUD whether or not students preferred online college or in person, 25% of students who took part in the poll voted for online and 75% voted for in person. This poll consisted of 99 students, and it is evident that the majority voted in favour of in person college. Following this question, students were asked if they believed that students should still pay full tuition fees although classes are still online, 96% of students voted “no”, and 4% voted “yes”. With “no” being the majority vote, it is clear that students feel they should not have to pay full tuition fees when their course is being held online. 110 students participated in this poll.

Visual Merchandising and Display student from Technology University Dublin explained how the pandemic has affected her studies. “My first year of college was online, we were lucky enough to have one day on campus as it is a very hands-on practical course, but I feel like the online aspect made me somewhat lazy and less interested in my course.” When asked how she felt about this semester of college she explained that they have online and in-person classes, but the online classes are not for her. “I would much rather college to be completely in-person, I understand the severity of the pandemic, but I feel my course is at a loss as it is very practical and being in person is beneficial for our projects and hand-on learning.”

Many students agreed that they shouldn’t have to pay full tuition fees due to college being partly online and not completely in person. Psychology student from IADT stated, “no we shouldn’t have to pay full fees, I’m only in person two days a week, with a class being cancelled nearly every week.” Other students explained how lecturers aren’t as attentive as they should be and that facilities being closed within colleges does affect their studies. From shorter opening library times, too little to no hands-on use of college equipment, students aren’t getting the full college experience. DCU Students Union Officer Ross Boyd stated, “students shouldn’t have to pay full fees full stop and should be purely government funded.”

The Instagram survey concluded that students are not happy with how the pandemic has affected their studies, most students with the same response, that full fees should not have to be paid and the “college experience” not living up to expectation. Numerous students explained how their mental health has also been affected by this, and that they are less motivated to pursue their studies when classes are online.

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