Is In-Person School Better?

At the mid-year break, I thought it was finally the time to ask the question: has being in-person been a better experience than being online?


“In person, you actually know what you’re doing, online, everyone just kinda cheats,” Sammy Long said. “I do think it’s easier in person because you actually learn about the topic.”

Andrew Dotson had a different answer.

“Assignments were a lot easier online, primarily because you would get on the zoom, they would tell you what to do, and then you’d get off,” he said. “And then you’d have like, a whole hour or so to knock it out, now I have to wait until the end of my day to start doing homework.”

Jack Pruden also added that “in person, there’s a lot more motivation to actually work.”

On one hand, it’s easier to learn and be motivated in person but on the other, online school gives you more time to do whatever assignment you need to do. It’s really kind of a toss-up when it comes down to what is actually easier.

Something I noticed was that at least for me, actually staying focused is much easier in person than it is online. I wanted to see if that was true for other people.

“I’d definitely say so because when I go to school I’m in the school mode,” said Dotson.  ‘Being back in school has definitely increased the amount that I’ve learned.”

Kevin Magdaleno said, “at home, you could just lay down and become lazy, but at school, you can’t so you just have to do your work.”

When learning online you can’t constantly rely on a teacher to keep you from losing focus and for a lot of people that made it harder to concentrate in class when they were online. 

“I’m learning a lot more, and also I get to see my friends, last year I really didn’t get to interact with my friends a whole lot,” Dotson said.

Long said, “if you have friends that you really care about, school is so much better.”

Magdaleno added that “one of the pros is that you can get help from a teacher in person, which was harder to do online.”

However one of the downsides that Dotson gave was that in-person school takes up way more time.

“It does take up a lot more time, and I don’t get nearly as much sleep as I did online.”

So while in-person school allows you to make and keep connections with students and teachers alike, it also has the downside of being far more time-consuming than an online school.

So is that all to the debate? Not quite.

In a study done by scientists who were looking at the effectiveness of distance learning, some cases showed that students online had higher test scores and grades. But why could this be the case?

It could be due to online school giving students more time, and allowing them to actually learn the content instead of just rushing to get it done before a deadline.

“You can work at your own pace, you can do school anywhere you want, you don’t have to ask for bathroom breaks, you can have lunch whenever you want,” Magdaleno said.

“It lets you make your own schedule, I was able to gain a lot of independence from an online school, I could do my own homework on my own time,” Dotson said.

Online school allows students to be more independent and do things on their own time, unlike in-person where students often have to follow the same schedule every day. However, it also makes it significantly harder to make connections with other students, and teachers. 

Dotson said that despite extra time during online school, “it’s difficult to make connections, especially with teachers. It was difficult for me to get to know all my teachers.”

So overall, online and in-person each have their own benefits, which is better?

Pruden said, “I prefer in person, because I can focus a lot more, and I get to see my friends.”

In fact, this is basically what everyone I asked said.

Despite the extra time they had to do assignments, and despite being able to be more independent with their own schedule, students still picked in-person learning.

The connections you can make with people in person even today when everyone is connected on the internet outweighs every advantage online school provides, at least it seems that way after talking to other students here at Dunbar.