Distance Learning vs. In-Person Learning

Student Poll


Margret Jacott, Writer

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Owatonna High School has operated mainly through distance learning since mid March of 2020. The switch to online learning has affected every student differently, and especially the recent return of hybrid learning on Jan. 21 in the Owatonna school district has definitely sparked some mixed opinions. A poll was recently conducted on the Magnet Instagram and a large portion of high school students responded.


The first question asked the students if they preferred distance or in-person learning. Out of 172 students, 117 said they preferred physically being at the school over distance learning. Senior, Nolan Burmeister said, “I like distance because some of the time I am able to get my stuff done a little early and have extra free time during the day, but there are advantages and disadvantages to both.” However, Sophomore Kaitlyn Cobban said, “I like in-person learning because it’s easier to ask questions and just easier to get everything turned in.” One of the most common advantages students notice for in-person learning is being able to socialize with peers and teachers. 


The second question asked if the students estimated they got more or less schoolwork done during online school. 171 students responded, in which 115 said they think they get less schoolwork done. Sophomore, Kynlee Prok said, “I get less schoolwork done because I do everything on my own time so I end up pushing it off until the last minute.” Conversely, Junior Avery Mcmanimon said, “I would say that I get more work done online but it takes me longer since it’s harder to focus when there’s a bunch of distractions around me.” While some could argue that more time at home is open to more time for schoolwork, many could say that there are plenty more distractions at home that could keep a student occupied from schoolwork.


The third question asked if they believed google meets were beneficial. From the total 173 students, it came relatively close with 77 that said that they are beneficial, and 96 said they were not. Senior, Katie Cottingham said, “I don’t think they’re beneficial because I feel people get distracted and don’t pay attention to them.” However, Senior Shamso Abdullahi said, “Google meets are helpful because it made me feel apart of the class and you could ask questions and not have to wait for the teacher to reply.” Google meets are a widely disputed topic due to the fact that some students would rather receive their information through email rather than an online meeting. 


The final question asked if students believe tests were easier or harder during distance learning. 173 students replied, 120 saying they are easier and the other 53 said they are harder. Senior Cade Woltman said, “It’s way easier because you can do your work at your own pace and don’t have to sit in a classroom all day.” While Junior Mason Zirngible said, “I would say tests are harder because I learn better in person and it’s hard with only two days in school.” Students have grown up taking tests and quizzes in the classroom; with that prior knowledge mixed with available notes, would lead to the assumption that tests are easier at home.