Trump slams online learning, echoing students' disapproval
- President Trump condemned virtual learning on Twitter today and called again for schools to reopen in the fall.
- The president’s response comes amid numerous surveys which indicate that students are dissatisfied with the online learning experience.
President Donald Trump took to Twitter Friday morning to criticize online learning, saying that it’s “terrible” compared to traditional, on-campus education.
“Not even close!” he said. “... If not open, why would the Federal Government give Funding? It won’t!!!”
Now that we have witnessed it on a large scale basis, and firsthand, Virtual Learning has proven to be TERRIBLE compared to In School, or On Campus, Learning. Not even close! Schools must be open in the Fall. If not open, why would the Federal Government give Funding? It won’t!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2020
The president’s comment follows an earlier briefing earlier, in which he urged schools to reopen in the fall and called out Harvard University for taking the “easy way out” by moving most of its classes online: “I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves, you want to know the truth."
“May cut off funding if not open!” he tweeted Wednesday.
College students across America have already voiced their disappointment with the virtual learning experience provided by their schools.
Campus Reform spoke to students in March, asking how they felt about their classes being abruptly shifted online as a result of the pandemic.
“It’s almost like you’re being cheated of your education because you’re simply not going to learn the things you would have,” one student commented.
Some mentioned that they learn better in person and found the online format challenging.
“We long to be in the classroom, we want to be back in the classroom,” said another student.
An April poll from Axios and College Reaction demonstrated an overwhelming dissatisfaction with online classes. The overwhelming majority, 90 percent, of students held a negative view of online classes and more than three out of four said they thought distance learning was “worse or much worse” than traditional education. Thirteen percent were considering taking a gap year if schools planned to remain online.
Multiple universities faced lawsuits throughout April and May, as students argued that the colleges should reimburse them for failing to provide them with a quality education worthy of the money they paid in tuition and housing costs. Students suing Harvard University in May called the Ivy League’s online learning experience “subpar.”
As colleges announce their reopening plans, the majority of students have expressed that online classes should not cost the same as those held in-person, according to a survey from College Pulse. More than 90 percent of students said that they should not pay the full bill if classes stay online, and 63 percent say the cost should be “much less.”
"Students are smart enough to know that if they are getting courses online, the cost to offer those courses should go down — they want a better deal for their dollar,” Koch Foundation Executive Director Ryan Stowers told Axios.
Additionally, 78 percent of students said they found online learning to be less effective than in-person courses.
Campus Reform spoke with students in June, asking them if colleges should reopen. Many said that they should, as long as proper safety protocols were implemented.
“Gradually, and make sure they’re taking the proper precautions,” one student said, adding that the longer schools delay reopening will only “make things a little bit worse.”
Students additionally confirmed their dislike of online learning.
“I feel like the quality is not as high,” one said.
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