Overcome the Challenges of Online Learning Due to COVID-19
As 2020 comes to a close, Cesar Vallejo College is looking forward to the start of our Spring 2021 semester. With COVID-19 still prevalent, the safety of our students and faculty is our greatest concern. CVC will continue to hold classes online for the upcoming semester. Online classes can prove to be demanding. At CVC we believe it is imperative that we equip our students with the necessary tools and tips to overcome the challenges that accompany online learning.
U.S. News reports that some of the common challenges undergraduate students are currently facing regarding online learning include: “technical issues, distractions and time management, staying motivated, understanding course expectations, lack of in-person interaction, adapting to unfamiliar technology, and uncertainty about the future”
Let’s talk about these!
Unfortunately, technical issues are bound to happen in an online-only environment. For example, the computer may shut down or restart, or the wi-fi connection may fluctuate.
The solution: Reach out to professors and inform them about what’s happening. Hopefully, they will be understanding and flexible about the situation and provide accommodations. A professor in that situation perhaps may even record class sessions as a backup for students. At CVC all of our online classes are recorded.
Technical problems will happen to every one of us, so it is comforting to know that you are not alone! There’s always a fix and you can speed it up by reaching out to the professor and/or to tech support at your school. You can contact CVC’s tech support at firstname.lastname@example.org or on WhatsApp.
Distractions and Time Management
Online learning calls for a dramatically different workspace and environment. Students may be used to the structure of attending a physical school, but at home, surrounded by family and responsibilities, the distractions can be more than usual. Time management in turn becomes more challenging.
The solution: Try to build a schedule identifying when and where in your house they are going to do their coursework, and share this information with other members of your household. Identifying a quiet time and place in your house will also help with distractions. If responsibilities outside of your school coursework become too overwhelming, you should consider meeting with an academic advisor to discuss your options to consider reducing course load going forward.
Additionally, the lack of a physical campus, which provides a set place and time for class, may affect a student’s motivation and mindset. A student may view the campus as their space for work, but have a difficult time associating their home with school work. Therefore, setting a set space for relaxation and a separate space for work is imperative.
The solution: After creating a daily schedule and setting a productive workspace, you should then focus on their ultimate goal. At the end of the day, checking off each item on your schedule and getting a sense of accomplishment should work as a motivating force. Another helpful way to stay motivated is to reach out to your classmates and professors, and stay in touch when needed.
Understanding Course Expectations
On an online platform, course expectations may not be as clear to students. They may wonder whether their classes will have live lectures through videoconferencing at a set time on a certain day, or whether students are expected to learn the material on their own time.
The solution: Experts say students should be proactive in asking their professors questions about course expectations. Whether classes will be held live varies depending on the school, professor, and discipline. At CVC, all course schedules and modalities are clearly identified in the course syllabus.
Lack of In-Person Interaction
The lack of in-person interaction from both instructors and classmates can be challenging to adjust to. This adjustment can be particularly difficult for students taking classes that are better suited for the face-to-face format, such as science labs or hands-on learning subjects.
The solution: To adjust to this new reality, you should take advantage of the online tools provided. Video conferencing programs like Zoom, Skype of FaceTime, provide the best alternative to actual face-to-face interaction. Additionally, taking advantage of a professor’s virtual office hours can help you get personal face-to-face help and interaction.
Adapting to Unfamiliar Technology
While navigating online classes, students may need to adapt to unfamiliar digital tools. Adjusting to a new online environment may temporarily get you to a slow start as the focus is on the platform’s technological aspects.
The solution: Utilize the resources available through your school; such as technical support or Student Services to help understand the technology. The internet is also an invaluable tool that can save time and solve many issues, as explanations for unfamiliar technology and video tutorials are easily accessible through a quick search.
Uncertainty About the Future
The switch to online classes this past year and for the near future has caused anxiety and raised questions among students about their academic future. Some students consider taking semesters off if their school continues to stick with online classes. Other students are concerned about upholding a full course load while juggling responsibilities at home or work.
The solution: Reach out to Student Services or an academic advisor and decide whether changes should be made to your course schedule for future semesters, whether that be fewer classes or a recess from university for a period of time.
At Cesar Vallejo College, assistance is always available to help you overcome any challenges you may be facing while navigating online learning. Your success is our priority. Please contact us should you require assistance.
Friedman, J. (2020, May 4). Tackle Challenges of Online Classes Due to COVID-19. U.S. News. https://www.usnews.com/