Online vs. On-Campus Classes for Fall

By Daniel Topete

College of Southern Nevada students and professors are considering whether they should take or teach online verses on-campus courses this fall.

The pandemic prompted CSN, along with other NSHE institutions including University of Nevada, Las Vegas and University of Nevada, Reno, to take education online last spring. Over a year later, in-person along with online classes are on the roster for the upcoming term.   

Students adjusted to virtual instruction over the past year. They will make decisions on whether they plan to enroll for online courses again or step back into the classrooms.

Estefania Sandoval, a CSN student, found herself struggling with online instruction. “In-person classes were all I knew until all classes were moved to remote learning. During the beginning of the switch, I can personally say it was quite a harsh and drastic change.”

Sandoval ended up loving online courses; the change was a positive one. “After a year of taking online classes, I cannot see myself going back in person. Online classes have given me the opportunity to learn at my own pace. Furthermore, I was able to obtain a job while still attending school.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of fall 2018, there were 60.4% of undergraduate students who took online courses. That percentage certainly increased during the past’s year pandemic. It will be interesting to see the numbers in the coming year once students have a choice to resume online or in-person classes.

Connor Harbak, a CSN student, said he would rather stick to online virtual learning for the new semester. “I do prefer in-person classes but I live far from campus, so the trip is annoying. This is primarily to save time.”

According to a post on University of the Potomac’s website, around 70% of students claimed online instruction is as good or better than traditional learning.

Dr. David Batchelor, a CSN professor of astronomy, noticed some changes in students over the past year. “I have seen that during the pandemic, the grades in my classes are actually higher but the drop rate is higher as well.”

Even with the success of online courses, some professors prefer the classroom.

Peter Lanagan, a CSN professor of astronomy, commented that reading a student’s body language affects how he teaches. “There is a lot of classroom communication in the classroom, which involves body language. By reading the body language of students, I can make adjustments to my teaching in real-time.” That is not the case for online courses.

Bachelor adds, “It’s much easier for me to spot a confused look and offer assistance in the classroom.” He looks forward to seeing students again face-to-face soon.

As fall classes are planned, safety considerations are still top-of-mind.

Lanagan said, “The rapid vaccination program and current reduced case numbers can justify in-person teaching in the fall provided that safety measures like social distancing and mask wearing are followed.”

Students started enrolling for summer 2021 on April 23 and fall 2021 semester enrollment begins May 1. Academic advisors are available for students who are deciding what the best options are for them for the upcoming semester. To schedule an appointment with an academic advisor, visit

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