Students find ups and downs with both synchronous and asynchronous classes

How have students gotten along the past year with synchronous or asynchronous style online classes?

Students+at+American+River+College%2C+as+well+as+across+the+country%2C+have+had+to+get+used+to+college+classes+online+since+March+of+2020%2C+due+to+the+COVID-19+pandemic.+Synchronous+and+asynchronous+classes+each+have+challenges+and+advantages+for+students+in+spring+2021.+%28Photo+via+Unsplash%29%0A

Students at American River College, as well as across the country, have had to get used to college classes online since March of 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Synchronous and asynchronous classes each have challenges and advantages for students in spring 2021. (Photo via Unsplash)

Collin Andrews, Staff Writer

With online classes, the focus for college students the past year, American River College has set its focus on giving students a variety of options when taking online classes. One such option is the decision to take asynchronous or synchronous classes.

The difference between the two is whether the class has scheduled meetings throughout the week via Zoom. If a class does have scheduled meeting days, it is synchronous, whereas if a class does not have scheduled meeting times and is more at the student’s own pace, it is asynchronous.

Students now have the ability to decide what way they would like to learn and be able to tailor their college experience to best fit their schedules. However, some classes, such as public speaking classes, are unable to be conducted in an asynchronous format due to the requirements. A history class, however, works well in that format.

According to an email sent to the Current by Scott Crow, ARC’s communications and public information officer, the spring 2021 class schedule for ARC listed about 20% of the 480 classes as synchronous. That means close to 100 classes met weekly this semester via Zoom.  

Harris Bartlett, a second-semester music theory major at ARC, says that having flexibility with class schedules works better for him and that he greatly prefers asynchronous over synchronous classes. 

I have only one class that meets regularly that I would consider synchronous, the rest are asynchronous, most have quite open flexibility for work,” Bartlett said in an email to the Current.

Bartlett added that while some parts of synchronous classes were helpful, they did have their drawbacks.  

“The time in class in my synchronous classes was helpful in some ways,” Bartlett said. “In-person and synchronous classes are overall way too disruptive of my schedule, traveling to and from class and having to be present in virtual classes alone wasted hours and hours of my week.” 

Bartlett also says that he prefers asynchronous classes because he learns more from the orientation that the school provides more than learning from a teacher. 

“I tend not to learn a lot from the teacher. I more so appreciate the scheduling and orientation school provides,” Bartlett said. “I have only had one teacher in my educational experience I would consider worth the class time.”