Students Adjust to a New Kind of Learning

By Rebecca Munday, Editor

Students had mixed feelings and expectations for the fall semester after the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to adapt to a mode of learning and interaction unlike any previous semesters.

The university leadership sent out an email in the last week of July that read, “In terms of your classes, details on individual courses are still being finalized, but we can tell you that less than 10 percent of our fall classes that were scheduled in-person are moving fully online. Most will be a mix of face-to-face and some kind of virtual/online experience.”

Now that the semester is nearly over, students shared their thoughts on how compulsory online and hybrid courses worked out for them.
“I was definitely prepared. I was one of the few students who was,” said Noah Montone, a freshman majoring in computer science. “It was like I was back in high school,” he said.

Joseph McArthur, a senior in the information technology program, had his first online class last semester but he and all the other students in the department were used to online classes, communicating through email and having a camera in the room before the pandemic hit.

“We were getting used to it,” McArthur said.

However, even though some students were prepared to take online classes, many would prefer in-person interaction. Sylvia Touchstone, a sophomore in the sociology program, said she felt “ripped off.” On multiple occasions professors just read out of the textbook, according to Touchstone. “Paying for a professor to read me a textbook is not what I signed up for,” she said.

“It’s difficult to go and do the student activities stuff when there’s strict policies,” Touchstone said.

“I do better when I’m learning in-person,” said Veronica Asuqur, a sophomore majoring in biology.

With small children at home, “the purely online learning in the spring was a huge struggle,” Asuqur said.

“I was kind of bummed out. I’m not a fan of doing things online,” Brian Jaramillo, a political science junior, said.

“I miss the interaction with people that we used to have,” McArthur said.
A couple of students mentioned how students don’t even need to be on campus or shouldn’t need to be on campus.

“You don’t need to be here. You could literally go home,” Touchstone said. She says she has professors that expect students to learn on their own and then, for participation, they have to come to a Zoom meeting just to say what they have learned.

“I was hoping to get to a point where I didn’t have to come to campus,” said McArthur, who lives in a household with three individuals who have a high risk of contracting COVID-19. “I worried about bringing it home.”

Even with the complaints and challenges students have had this semester, most students are still succeeding in their academic work.

As the fall semester comes to a close and the spring semester looms, the Inkwell will continue to report on the physical and virtual learning experiences of students.

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