Posts Tagged ‘struggles of virtual schooling’

The New Way of Learning

Monday, October 5th, 2020

COVID-19, has impacted all of our lives across the world. Everyone’s lives shifted overnight, turning the world upside down. This pandemic has introduced a new way of living in the way we interact and communicate with one another. During the lockdown in April, many of us including myself were flooded with questions about how we could potentially be safe yet, still continue to live our lives without transmitting or getting infected from the virus. The education of many students was disrupted due to the overwhelming increase in cases nationwide. Many of us shared one question. Would schools reopen for students to resume their educational learning? It is a public safety concern for parents, students, and teachers, including city staff. 

Photograph of a woman teaching virtually at her desk. The Journal star, 20 March. 2020

Luckily, today’s technology enables us to have distance learning. Learning virtually is a  completely different experience for many. As a Junior in college, it is about accepting and understanding change and adapting to this new way of living. 

One struggle I’ve experienced during my virtual learning experience are technical issues. Not to mention, on my first day of Junior year I missed class due to WIFI technical difficulties. Yes, I was marked absent and I can only imagine how many students are in my shoes or can’t even afford WIFI in their home. Another difficulty I’ve had is sharing workspace and time with the other people in my household due to distractions. Along with distractions, it is uncomfortable and damaging to one’s eyes sight to stare at a screen for hours. Not having the mobility to move or travel is tedious. My body aches or feels numb from sitting for many hours. Also, some professors require turning your camera’s on but not every student has the flexibility.  Although, I do understand that the purpose is to engage with everyone. Feeling connected to our classmates and professor is quite difficult to do through a screen therefore, cameras help break that borderline. Furthermore, time management is a big conflict learning virtually for both professors and students because technical difficulties take up class time. To add on, the workload is more, and expectations are higher, it is easier to fail. International students also face many challenges. Rita Watanabee, a student and secretary of the Merchandising Society Club at the Fashion Institute of Technology, is learning from Tokyo, Japan. This is her experience, “Waking up at the right time, getting enough sleep is the hardest for me! Sometimes I only get 3-4 hours of sleep,” due to the different time zones. 

During this difficult time, Professors are also experiencing challenges to help create a  better virtual learning environment for their students. An English department professor at FIT,  Katherine Varnes, has shared insight with me on the struggles of being virtual from the perspective of a professor. She says, “preparation of materials and tech troubleshooting requires about triple the amount of time” relating to time management. “It is harder to feel connected to my students when I am not in the room with them, so I work harder” Professor Varnes is working on creating different interactive activities, fun games, and more visuals to engage all her students. Be considerate and patient with one another during these times. She also shares great suggestions to enhance students’ virtual learning experience! 

• “Try to not get behind, this is the most important” 

• “Try to force yourself to participate more, feel engaged”

• “It’s important to learn what kind of learner you are” 

• “You could ask your professor to share a study group invitation or set up virtual coffee  times to check-in” 

• “Be socially motivated, figure out a way to chat with other people in your classes outside  of class” 

By, Yadira Tellez

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