Online Learning in the Fall Semester

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Online Learning in the Fall Semester 

By Anthony Koonce

Photo by Anthony Koonce

Switching to online learning was a big and sudden adjustment for everyone this past March, when COVID-19 reached Ohio over spring break.

Professors rushed to adapt their curriculums and students struggled to cope with an unfamiliar mode of learning. It was even difficult for students with prior online learning experience.  “I had taken a couple mixed learning classes before, but the full entourage of solely online classes did not feel that much easier,” says Aidan Holdsworth, a student at the Western Campus. “I am a mostly visual and audible learner.”  By the time the Spring semester ended many students were just grateful to have been able to pass, with Tri-C providing a Pass/No Pass option for anyone who wanted one. 

Despite tentative hopes otherwise, the pandemic worsened over the summer, forcing schools to continue with online and hybrid learning. While certainly not an ideal situation, we have all entered the Fall semester with a little bit of experience. So has anything changed because of that? Or are things just as bad as the Spring semester?  

Some students have managed to adjust well and even find remote learning to be easier. Chloe Millard, a student at the Western Campus, used to be homeschooled and was able to adapt quickly thanks to that experience.  “I find that online is so much easier for me,” she says. “Minus the constant fear of missing an assignment!”  

Holdsworth, also a homeschooler, only partially agrees. “At-home learning feels regular to me, but the interactivity of in-person learning helps me focus.” Holdsworth says that consistent video calls and interactive lectures are the most helpful way to keep track of their time and class assignments.  But with no clear structure beyond those weekly Zoom meetings, time management continues to be a big sticking point for many students. Millard says that she has “definitely gotten better at procrastinating” this semester. In order to stay on track, Holdsworth advises that students should “focus on what you know you can manage, and don’t push yourself unless it’s necessary.” Burning out on classes is not something you want to happen, as it will only make things harder to manage in the long run. 

As the pandemic continues for the rest of the semester (and likely into Spring 2021 as we wait for a vaccine) online learning has become the new standard. When asked what she misses the most about being on campus, Millard exclaimed: “Seeing my friends! I miss meeting up with them in the library or outside by the ponds.”  While Zoom calls are an awkward substitute for in-person interaction, they still help to retain at least some of the classroom structure. 

In the end, the Fall semester will be as good as you (the student) makes it.  Work ahead when you can, email your professors if you need help, and do what it takes to stay in a good mood.  While this won’t necessarily make everything better, it will at least make the experience a little more bearable. 

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