Matthew Ellmore/Contributing Writer
The option of taking online classes instead of face-to-face ones has slowly become more popular. One of the major reasons why is because online classes are much more flexible in terms of scheduling. Most students work as well as attend school, and online classes give them the luxury of being able to work at their own pace and at their own time.
But an undiscussed benefit of online classes is what it does for introverts.
When it comes to the classroom, it seems like silence is more offensive than any other action. If a student is silent, then it must mean that the student does not care about the material or is not present in what is being taught.
In other instances, silence is looked at as an absence of knowledge in the student. I’ve noticed this shift in the classroom, especially when you get into college and “participation” becomes an active part of your grade. With this image of a vocal student in mind, participation is limited to specific qualities, and any student that doesn’t show those qualities is not considered an active participant.
There’s an old saying that goes, “step out of your comfort zone,” and while that may work for some people, others may have a hard time trying to be a successful student when they’re constantly being forced out of their comfort zone.
With an online class, it can be simpler to cater to each student’s needs. Instead of face-to-face classes where a teacher is addresses a general audience, online classes allow for more individual discussions between student and teacher.
Students have the chance to communicate with their peers via email, group chats or Canvas messages while not being forced into anything they’re uncomfortable with. They have the option to join in rather than have something forced upon them and feel out of place.
As an introvert, I’ve always had a hard time in face-to-face classes. Whether it was group work or even just raising my hand to ask a teacher a question, I never felt like I was comfortable in the communication that was taking place. It always felt like I was judged for being quiet or not having something to say.
Whenever I take an online class, I feel more productive and confident about the work I’m doing. I know that I can email a question and not worry about anyone in the class thinking it was dumb. I don’t have to be forced into group work and discussions that I’m not comfortable with. I know I don’t have to worry about whether or not my silence will be judged because the flexibility of an online class allows me to privately collect my thoughts before discussing them with others.
Online learning offers introverts a private yet adaptable way to go about communicating in a classroom setting. Communication between peers and professors is no longer something that can only take place in large groups or something that is forced upon students. Students are allowed to communicate in whatever way they feel comfortable doing and are allowed to do so at their own pace.