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Having the experience of learning online instead of in person will teach students valuable life skills.

As cases of the coronavirus rapidly increase across the country, many cities, businesses and schools have made the tough decision to shut down indefinitely. Although these shutdowns have been difficult for many to acclimate to, there are many advantages to this time spent at home, particularly for students who have transitioned to online classes. 

Outside of the academic realm, large companies spending less time mass-producing goods has decreased carbon emissions and has also led to unique side effects such as the waters of the Venice canals returning to a clear state. People all over the world can learn from these statistics and perhaps, one day, apply these same practices in order to lessen the effects of climate change. 

Within the world of academia, the move to online schooling may seem inexpedient for those who prefer in-person and hands-on education, learning how to succeed in unforeseen circumstances such as these is an important life experience. Online classes can be held in a variety of ways: face-to-face over applications such as Zoom, through synchronous or asynchronous pre-recorded lectures and through at-home readings and written assignments. 

Being able to balance classes of different types is a great tool that could easily come in handy in the future and could teach students which form of studying is most effective for them. These less-structured classes may help students develop new skills while allowing for time to be set aside to focus on non-academic goals.

Students will now be able to become much more technologically literate. With the new applications being implemented by professors, students will be able to gain experience in platforms that they previously may not have understood. Some of these skills will be transferable to future courses in the field and will be applicable to future careers. Beyond becoming more comfortable with technology, online classes take a lot of preparation offline. 

Being quarantined while participating in numerous classes will be a huge test of time management and personal drive. Students will have to find routines and spaces that allow them to prepare for class effectively, while engaging in class content enough to grasp the material. This time could be used productively by making a daily planner or to-do list that outlines all the day’s tasks and the time in which one has to complete them. Waking up in time to attend class, not lounging around the house all day and dedicating appropriate time to schoolwork are all important lessons to learn and are perhaps the hardest aspects of the transition to online schooling.

Additionally, being confined to one’s home with so much extra time can allow a person to dedicate time and attention to personal goals. Now students have time to delve into creative endeavors, improve lifestyle choices and spend time with loved ones, an opportunity which will most likely not arise again within students’ time at university. Instead of viewing this transition to online school and temporary quarantine as a negative occurrence, one can instead view it as a time to learn more about oneself and focus on the things he or she finds interesting or important.

Liz Riccio is a freshman media arts and design major. Contact her at riccioem@dukes.jmu.edu.