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The pros and cons of remote learning: My personal experience

CatchMark digital media specialist Courtney Jimison shares advantages and disadvantages of online education.

When it comes to education, everybody has his or her own experience.

Here is the path I took: Upon graduation from Shelby High School in 2016, the next step was Muskegon Community College, followed by Grand Valley State University for a bachelor’s degree in Film and Video Production.

While at MCC, I took classes that would transfer to GVSU. With my busy work schedule, taking classes in the summers online was the only way I was able to get it done.

Remote learning has its pros and cons, and I’m here to share my experience in that area.

Pro: Set your own pace

I was able to work ahead when work was slow. I stayed caught up when I couldn’t work on school stuff. My own pace allowed me to finish the class early, which meant I had the rest of the summer to do what I wanted. Working this way, however, made sure that I did not retain any information about the class.

I wasn’t bothered by this, as I chose to take online classes for areas of study not part of my degree — just the GEN-ED requirements. Once I got to my GVSU after MCC, all my classes were in-person. I am a hands-on learner, so everything I wanted to retain I needed to be able to physically be there whether that meant writing a paper or how to light a scene properly.

Con: Retaining information can be difficult

In March 2020, COVID-19 started hitting campus. We shut down and moved everything to online classes via Zoom. It was a difficult time for all of us, as many of my classmates were filming final projects/theses and could no longer work directly together.

Then, in the fall of 2020, we were allowed to come back in the classrooms with masks and social distancing in place. The semester started out great. My film production class was split up into three teams, working on three different short films. By October, two films had been shot and were in the editing phase, with one to go.

Con: Some learn better in person

Then campus shut down again.

We all had to go back to online classes, the last short film did not get shot, and editing took place online. My film production class, while less than ideal, continued via Zoom so we could finish our short films.

My hands-on learning, practical lighting class, came to a standstill. Instead of moving lights on a set piece or learning how to light different skin tones, we went to watching videos and being asked to describe the light.

Con: Physical projects and applications are almost impossible

I graduated from college in December 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Film and Video Production and a minor in Photography. My graduation ceremony was a YouTube stream, where our names were on a graphic along with the rest of our major. The dean of the college and the president of each school addressed us from a recording, and that was it.

I graduated. No cap and gown, walking across the stage, or hat toss. I had experienced this in high school, but college graduation was much bigger. I had paid thousands of dollars over several years and we graduated by watching an hour-long livestream.

Con: Big events are not the same

Remote learning can be really great when it comes to certain things. It depends on the person and how they learn whether or not they retain any of the information.

For me, remote learning is something I will never choose to go through again. The cons heavily outweigh the pros.

Courtney Jimison joined the CatchMark team in November 2022 as a Digital Media Specialist, and creates most non SportsNet content. From social media management to graphic design, there is no challenge she is afraid of. She attended GVSU and majored in Film & Video Production with a minor in Photography.

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