The idea of digital learning sounds liberating at first.
You can wear PJs all day. Cutting transportation, you can sleep in a little longer. And you can study from any location – how about the beach today? But that’s just not the reality.
Most year 12 students have been scarred by their involuntary remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic, struggling to focus at home and mentally suffering from a lack of human interaction. Now more than ever, they’re keen to get on university campuses to learn in-person and socialise.
In light of the lockdowns, 65% of students said that they prefer to study on campus, our Coronavirus & The Class of 2020 found. A mere 1% prefer online while 34% want a mix of both. In addition, 71% believe that an on-campus experience is essential to their studies.
It’s not just about participating in group discussions without the awkwardness of technical difficulties. And yes, just ‘going somewhere’, separating work from home and having the proper facilities you need, can put them in focus mode.
But a big thing they’d be missing is vibrant campus culture. Campus grounds are literally designed for connection. Departments and students can put on markets, performances and interactive experiences. Students can join clubs and societies that enhance their studies or just provide a break from work, like sports groups, book clubs and activist groups.
Interestingly, the report also found that 82% of students prefer to access university student counselling and mental health support services in-person, compared to just 9% who prefer SMS/Messages, 6% phone calls and 3% video calls.
With the prospects of another year of remote learning, some young people are even deferring their studies until in-person learning returns.
“I learnt how difficult it is to remain engaged in learning and absorb information when doing online learning,” a 17-year-old male from NSW said.
“Initially I planned to go to university starting 2021, however in light of many universities being online currently I will likely take a gap year in order to ensure my university experience is physical and does not involve online learning.”