The Chess Match Continues: Do Students Perfer Online or In-Person Classes?

John Jay students weigh in on returning to in-person instruction for the Spring semester ahead.

In June 2021, students at John Jay received an email asking them to take a survey on whether they would prefer in-person or online classes. CUNY never made the results of the student survey public.

However, in an interview with The Sentinel, John Jay’s Provost Yi Li said, CUNY plans to move forward with in-person instruction as the primary modality for the spring semester.

“CUNY plans for all campuses, when we return in the spring, to plan for a 70% fully in-person modality,” Provost Li said. Adding, “students are going to be required to be fully vaccinated. If you want access to campus or taking any of the online and or hybrid courses.”

According to Provost Li, while some students remained fully remote for the fall semester, they will not have that option in the spring semester.

“In CUNY, we have campaigns to encourage everybody, student, faculty, and staff, to be vaccinated,” he said. “So, it is the expectation that coming back for the spring, we will, at least we plan to be back just like pre-pandemic.”

On October 4, at John Jay’s Town Hall meeting, President Karol Mason answered several questions students raised concerning class modality. Like Provost Li’s, her responses indicated that CUNY planned to revert to its pre-pandemic course modality.

“We are not an institution that is set up to award degrees in a fully online modality,” she said.

However, The Sentinel recently surveyed twenty John Jay students about their preferred learning modality between online and in-person classes.

Fourteen students said that they preferred online courses over in-person courses, and six students preferred in-person courses, with some hoping to be back to entirely in-person classes soon.

The students weighed the pros and cons of both learning modalities.

Matthew Amos, a sophomore, enjoyed the flexibility of an online course and the social benefits of in-person classes.

“I enjoy the freedom that online classes give you,” he said. Adding, “you get to work on your own time.” But online classes lack the intimacy of in-person courses, according to Amos. “You get to physically see your professor and classmates as well as socialize with them,” he said.

Some students have adjusted to an online learning modality since transitioning to a primarily online course structure over a year and a half ago when the pandemic began.

Franchesca Corcino, a senior, saw more benefits in online classes than in-person classes.

“There are several reasons why I prefer online classes,” she said. “One of them is because I do not need to spend money weekly on public transportation or Uber.”

She added, “I still do not think it is safe to take in-person classes. Even though students are vaccinated, there are still chances of them getting COVID.”

Corcino also liked that taking online courses allows students to avoid CUNY’s vaccination mandate.

“Taking online classes does not require students to get vaccinated,” she said. “There are still those who do not believe in the vaccine, and that choose not to take it, and online classes are the key source for them to stay on track with their classes in college.”

Kateryna Smerechynska, a senior, also preferred online courses.

“Personally, for me,  online classes seem to be the most efficient because I can focus on other things in my life without commuting to classes,” she said.

She added, “plus, I have gotten used to them at this point because even pre-pandemic, I would lean more towards online classes rather than in person because I knew that it works best for my abilities.”