By Grace Tevaseu, Correspondent
As universities nationwide see an increase in remote learning and virtual classrooms, part of a national effort to combat COVID-19, students are speaking up about this method of learning, highlighting a few lessons learned that could help other students move forward in their online learning.
A common theme among students’ lessons learned is the importance of time management. Without the pressure of physically being present in class and visualizing deadlines, it becomes increasingly “easy to forget or not do assignments on time,” according to Katie Carolan. This is especially true when professors release “all the information to you at once,” elaborates Ethan Martindelcampo, making it essential to have “an effective schedule to get everything done.” Without efficient time management, Martindelcampo says students risk “assignment and video lessons stacking up” and ultimately falling behind.
Secondly, communication is very important! That is, communication outside the virtual classroom. For smoothness and efficiency, many times microphones are muted during lectures and it can be hard “for me to stay focused on a class if I am not actually there”, Patrick Kontz explained. Therefore, taking the extra step to send an email, schedule an appointment, or attend office hours can be beneficial in building relationships with professors and getting questions answered. Carolan found that “asking a question could take up to 10 emails to get an answer, where it would take a five-minute conversation in person to get an answer that I understand.” The same is applicable with classmate interactions, especially in discussion and group work. Online learning places a heavy emphasis on self-motivation, and taking initiative to communicate clearly with peers and professors pays off.
In retrospect, some students have realized they enjoy working in the comfort of their home, on their own schedule, with no commute, and have “no issue with the online stuff,” according to Brian Tigges. Tigges believes that other students tend to “prefer in-person lectures over Zoom classes” because some aspects of learning don’t translate well into virtual classrooms. Additionally, many students such as Eric Jang have been motivated to more heavily utilize and find new tools to succeed in their studies. Jang said that before the transition to remote learning, “Quizlet was my friend, but learning remotely made it my best friend”.
While ideally these student insights will soon no longer be needed nor utilized, we must keep these tips in the back of our minds as we begin this Fall semester. Students should take advantage of the resources available to them, including their own academic skills, to succeed in an online or hybrid environment.