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online learning

Gerardo Osorio

April 11, 2020

 

By Gerardo Osorio

With the inability to return to regular school because of COVID-19, students this year have only one option for learning- online. Luckily, technology has advanced to the point where this is possible. However, even though this new way of learning is somewhat easy, many challenges come with it. 

From a student perspective, I don’t like this new platform for my education. Even though I recognize that e-learning has its benefits and advantages over regular school, I would still rather be in school.

One of the biggest challenges that I deal with is time management. Although I have a lot more time to do my homework, it is still hard for me to get it done. A big factor in that is how different teachers assign different things. 

For example, for one of my classes, I get all my work and learning material for the following week on Monday, and we are expected to have everything done by Friday of that week or the following Monday. For other classes, however, we get homework a couple times a week, not all at once. The way it is, it's difficult to plan out the week because you don’t know what is coming.

In addition, we might have to ignore something we have a week to complete in order to get something we have only a day to turn in done. I know that sometimes this happens in regular school, but it is still difficult to not have a daily reminder of what you need to get done. 

Another struggle students face is the different websites we have to use. For me, all but one of my classes are on Google Classroom, so I often forget about the class on Canvas.

Probably the biggest challenge I face is legitimately learning. Even though I know I can email my teachers, sometimes I would like an immediate response. For the most part, most of my teachers are good at responding within a couple hours, but sometimes this doesn’t work well. Obviously it is impossible for everyone to run on the same schedule now, so the help we get isn’t always perfect.

Furthermore, some things are hard to put into words, or into an email. For example, in our Physics class, we have just been watching videos and thinking about equations we would normally visualize ourselves in the classroom. 

Personally, I find it takes me a lot longer to comprehend things I would have easily gotten had I been with an instructor to walk me through it. Sadly, it’s not just me that feels this way. Many of my peers text me and ask questions about homework when they don’t get it. Junior Zach Vander Griend expressed his frustration, “I wish I didn’t have to depend on videos and games to understand my coursework.”

In addition, students aren’t the only ones struggling. Both administration and staff have expressed their feelings about the situation, and they know that what we are doing isn’t ideal. 

English teacher, Kathy Mahannah stated what she dislikes the most is not being able to see her students, and this seems to be common among teachers. Mahannah said she can’t tell if someone is confused about a topic in class, so she can’t help them unless they come forward and ask for help. 

Luckily however, Mahannah has had good responses from her classes. She said, “the lowest percentage of students doing the work is 68% for one sophomore class and 85-100% for the rest.” She also said these numbers are similar to what she had during regular school. 

However, for the school as a whole, WPBHS principal D.J. Weddle said only 67% of assignments were completed last week, and those numbers seem to be decreasing. 

Furthermore, this new style of learning lends itself many health risks. For instance, eye strain from the hours we spend with a screen in our faces for learning to a possible increase in anxiety and depression from isolation are real. However, this is the only option we have.

My advice to students who are struggling with or simply don’t want to do their work- it’s the only option we have. If we want to have a future without major setbacks from these crazy times, we have to cooperate. 

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