It would be an understatement to say the past few weeks have been confusing.
With Governor DeWine and President Trump deciding to close down universities across the country, Baldwin Wallace has made the decision to continue the rest of the semester through online instruction.
While online classes are better than no classes at all, especially for seniors, the switch from face-to-face classes to remote learning has its challenges. Students seem to have mixed feelings on this “new normal,” but overall seem to find it hindering, which is to be expected.
Sean Kelley, a senior English major set to earn his diploma in May, says that he doesn’t particularly like the online aspects of classes. He said, “Online instruction stalls the learning process; you can’t ask questions immediately and for me, that hinders the flow of discussion and doesn’t allow for advanced conversation.”
He went on to say that other factors like WiFi connection, and simply living with your family can make the process even harder.
“When you live with your family, everyone is using the internet, which can cause connection issues during classes,” said Kelley, “There’s also the idea that adult students have their children home with them, and have to be attentive to them while also paying attention to class.”
Brianne Pliske, a junior with an Adolescent Education focus, agreed with Kelley. She said:
“I don’t love online classes because I learn best with face-to-face interaction. Before I transferred to BW, I took one at OSU and didn’t love it. I like the relationships I develop with my classmates and professors, and I like class discussions because they challenge me to think deeper about the material.” She continued, “But, the one thing I do like about online instruction is that they make me more accountable for myself, because there isn’t as much leadership and guidance from the professor.”
Kelley and Pliske are just two students at BW who feel this way, but it’s apparent they are not the only ones. The next couple months will surely prove difficult as professors and students work at navigating homework, quizzes, and final exams via Blackboard.
So, what should students expect from these online courses? For one, there may be some technical difficulties, as Kelley and Pliske both touched on. There is always the possibility of WiFi issues and Blackboard crashes.
But there are good aspects of this kind of learning, too. Perhaps online instruction will allow for more responsibility and punctuality, as Pliske referenced. Hopefully attending videocalls via Collaborate Ultra will provide a sense of “normal” that many of us feel has been taken from us.
Perhaps even more important to expect is less promptness from professors. This is a challenging time for everyone, not just students. There may be some delays and confusion as professors work doubly hard to bring a great learning experience to the virtual classroom, especially when they may not be used to using this kind of technology.
Professors are the people who have been working the hardest to make sure our education isn’t sacrificed in these hard times, and we should certainly remember to celebrate their efforts.
While the current circumstances are daunting and will certainly challenge the BW community in the weeks to come, it’s imperative to remember the connections and relationships fostered up until now—they haven’t gone away.
“I think it’s really important to remember that we’re all in this together, and that this kind of challenge is going to hopefully allow us as a community to lean on each other for support and guidance,” said Pliske. “I think this academic year will still end well, even if we can’t see each other.”