As we all know, e-learning has become the new norm in today’s day and age. Here at Illinois State University almost 80% of the students are doing remote learning. There are a few here and there that go to class on campus, but that is only because it is necessary. Since most of it is online, I had the pleasure of hearing the upsides and downsides of online learning from students of all kinds here at ISU.
When talking with some of the students, I got feedback from many that said they are not a fan of online learning. It is harder for them to focus and actually get the work done. Without having the in person factor it is not easy to get to know your class, classmates, and professor which is one of the benefits of going to class on campus. Another factor that junior Jess Hogeboom brought up is, “feeling uneasy about exposing personal environments”. There is the risk factor of people in the class seeing where you live and even the risk of unknown people able to get on the Zoom call. Since many professors require you to turn on your video, it almost feels as if people are watching you in your home. To help with this, I heard that many people put on a digital fake background so people aren’t seeing where you live. [bf_image id="q8ug58-7x30d4-emkmw3"]
One of the biggest factors brought up is not being motivated to do work and get onto class. Some students have the slight benefit of having a mandatory Zoom class, but a lot of the students don’t have it as a mandatory factor. Another issue is professors not using Zoom at all and just sending videos or Powerpoints. Having in person classes also gave us better reminders of when assignments and tests were. Senior, Joi Adams said, “I struggle with not having the vocal reminder that assignments are due.” When you hear it in person, it is easier for people to remember or even write down.
With all the downsides of online learning, there are some upsides and tricks to stay focused and motivated to do the class as if it were in person. Bryn Stevens, a senior brought up a great outlook on e-learning. “A positive side of e-learning is that it is really forcing me to get organized and grow up a little bit. It is making me learn how to manage my time better and prioritize.” There are life skills being learned each day with learning online. It may not seem like it, but we are learning valuable life skills while also living through a time that will forever be remembered in history.
Another great tip is doing your classes or homework in great social distancing places. Annabelle Short, a junior at ISU, said, “I love to go to the quad, the library, a friend’s house or anywhere else that gives me a change of scenery.” Being able to still go to some different places is a great way to stay focused on doing your work because you aren’t stuck in the same boring place as always. You could even change your room up to make it a great study and work place for yourself. [bf_image id="qaqpud-2onxs0-8tn9qe"]
Talking with the seniors many brought up the fact of thinking about what could have been happening in our last year of college. All the “what ifs” are consuming our thoughts and taking over living in the moment. This is a chance to make our last year one we will always remember and one that many others will remember. All students should be thinking this way as well. Even though it may not be your last year, it will be a completely different environment than what everyone is used to. Take this time to adapt and grow. We are all living in a time that we will never forget and will one day be taught in our history. We have the opportunity to show that we are making the most of our college experience, even with a pandemic going on.