DISTANCE LEARNING: The valley of talkers and lurkers: Students discuss their distance learning habits

Before the pandemic, attending school on campus allowed students and teachers to interact freely without the barrier of a screen. Due to distance learning, there has been a disconnect between how different types of students interact and engage during class time.

In class, some students are more comfortable speaking up and asking questions whereas others may not be as comfortable and prefer to simply listen. How often a student participates and engages in class can be an indicator of their performance as a student. Freshman Ashley Parker thinks that her lack of speaking up poorly affects her performance in the classroom.

“Not being able to ask any questions, not participating … it’s a negative effect, and an example of that would be when I get silent, I do not ask any questions,” Parker said.

In-person learning encourages students to pay attention since they are required to follow rules and expectations, and they often face more immediate consequences for their actions. Despite many of these expectations and consequences still being upheld, some feel the distance learning environment is much more lenient and faulty. Sophomore Aminah Hedges believes that while she is a talker, it can be difficult to participate sometimes .

“I find that I talk a bit more than some of my peers, but mostly I use the chat,” Hedges said. “My house can get loud at times and my mom teaches online in the next room over, so I’m not a huge fan of having my mic on.”

Unlike school in-person, students have a newfound ability to hide themselves behind a turned-off camera and muted mic. Although they are technically present in the meeting, they may not be paying attention or participating. Students can more easily wander off and do other tasks if a teacher cannot see them. Additionally, the consequences for not participating do not seem as direct as they used to be during in-person school.

While participating in class may be beneficial, some feel it is difficult sometimes depending on environmental factors.

“Overall, I feel like everyone has their own obstacles that they have to survive through, and maybe some people have the same obstacles as I do,” senior Kaitlyn Winner said. “But I hope in the future that we do get to go back and change those bad habits into more good habits.”