Students are persevering through a challenging semester that mostly consists of online learning due to COVID-19 restrictions. - Photo via pixabay.com

To say online learning has been a challenge would be an understatement. Not only has the education system been completely reconstructed, the entire learning process has changed. There’s no more raising of hands or face-to face-discussion and structure.

I wake up, go to my kitchen for coffee and then back to my room for an eight hour day of screen time. Assignment sheets are no longer handed out, but posted.

Where you may ask? I wish I could answer that question. Are they under the assignment tab? Possibly discussion? Maybe even the module section? I hope you can see the struggle. 

While finding structure and regularity during online learning is certainly sub-optimal, the hardest part is trying to juggle learning curves with different majors. How can a writing major and an engineering major both optimize their learning experiences through Zoom?

As a dual major in English and writing arts, I have found juggling the differences between classes extremely hard. I spoke with a few classmates and friends from different majors to hear their perspectives. 

Biology majors are working through lessened lab time and nursing majors are progressing to in-person clinicals after learning remotely for six months. Business majors are benefitting from a new way of presenting and distributing data. Advertising and marketing majors are learning how to use the internet as a primary tool, using social media and online targets as their base. Art majors are teaching themselves through remote instruction. Dance and theater majors are practicing on their own, correcting and perfecting their own techniques. Writing majors are no longer handing in papers for corrections, but are over-utilizing Google Docs. 

Online learning is not universal. There is no global fix to conquer all of the learning curves between majors. A nursing major and a writing major cannot learn the same way. Zoom is not a comprehensive resource for everyone.

The only commonality between all majors that were asked is that class and home cannot coexist. Being in class at home is emotionally draining and physically exhausting. Staying mentally active in class while having all of the distractions of home is the first challenge.

Personally, I think it takes a toll on the quality of the work that I hand in. While being at home is a major distraction, the other obstacle is getting into the school work mindset without physically being in a classroom setting. Not only is there the distraction of family members and the comfortability of your home, school can easily take the backseat in your mind when learning from your couch or bedroom. Mind over matter is a huge factor when it comes to remote learning. 

Finding ways to further develop and enhance online learning is the biggest challenge that the education system has had in the past decade. It’s putting enormous amounts of stress and pressure on all of those involved. Administration is learning how to provide for the needs of their students and teachers are trying their absolute hardest to make learning favorable for everyone involved, while students are still struggling to simply adjust and adapt.  

Remote learning has turned into a reinstitution of the education system for today’s youth. While it’s easy to focus on the hardships and negatives of online learning, there are so many positives to the construction of a new curriculum. There are millions of online resources for students now and learning can take place anywhere. Absences may become a thing of the past, instruction can happen from across the globe and we are adapting to a new way of learning. For a new generation of students, this is their normal.

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