Online learning: freedom, yet added responsibility

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[PHOTO COURTESY OF ANDREW NEEL ON UNSPLASH]

From Feb. 6-24, Taipei American School students went through a period of digital learning. For many, including myself, this was a brand new experience.
Online learning allowed students to organize their own time, which not only gave them more freedom, but also added responsibility and self-motivation. 
With classes starting at 9 a.m. each day, students could get more  sleep than usual. While I would usually have to wake up at 6 a.m. on normal school days, I could now sleep until 8:30 a.m., and still be on time for my first class.
This new schedule allowed me to get eight to 10 hours of sleep almost every day, which is the recommended amount of sleep for upper school students. I found that I felt more awake and motivated, especially since I could eat a full breakfast while getting work done. 
For the majority of the two weeks, I tried to strictly follow the schedules provided. However, I would sometimes get distracted. Learning new content was pretty challenging, as the teachers were not physically in front of you to answer questions. Contacting them through emails or Zoom meetings were also more time consuming than usual.
Despite this inconvenience, online learning allowed students to learn at their own pace. Although following the set schedule was  a good way to keep yourself on track, this style of learning allowed you to spend more time on challenging subjects. 
Digital learning also took out the time spent going to and from school. As someone who lives an hour away from school, I found myself with two extra hours I could use at my disposal. 
Exercising and practicing instruments were all easily incorporated into my new schedule. Even with these activities, I still had extra time on my hands, which was useful whenever I needed more time to catch up on work, or to work ahead in some classes. 
Despite having a lot of free time, it sometimes became pretty challenging to stay motivated, as I was cooped up in my house all day. Walking from one class to another was no longer necessary, which meant that I was sitting on a chair for hours at a time with no breaks. I had to remind myself to stand up and move around, but to not get distracted and resume working. 
Online learning for me felt like a test of self-control, I was solely responsible for keeping up with my work, but that also meant I had a lot of freedom in deciding what to do with my time. While there were both advantages and disadvantages to this learning experience, I felt that this system of learning would not work for me in the long run. While it was refreshing to learn from home for a short period of time, I am now looking forward to going back to a normal classroom setting on Tuesday.