Following an incredibly tough winter semester consisting of the chaotic “Snowmageddon” and the rise of a global pandemic, students are back to classes after a restriction-filled summer – and having to adapt quickly to an entirely online education.
For some, the online semester brings less stress and more comfort. No longer having to commute from home, MUN students who live off-campus are looking forward to less driving time and less pay-to-park receipts. It is also easier for some students who work during the semester, as they can now balance their student and work schedules with more flexibility.
Being able to roll out of bed right into your Zoom or Webex lecture is great for homebodies like myself, but for those who prefer socializing with their classmates, it can feel a bit isolating.
Many students are finding the online semester to be quite overwhelming. Spending more time at their computer than ever, students are finding the course workload to be much heftier than it was before online learning.
“It’s very easy to fall behind entirely. Because Professors aren’t holding classroom sessions, they tend to increase numbers of assignments and assessments… I’ve never been so busy in my life”.Meghan Kean, third year student.
With a heavier workload and less motivation, students want to see more support systems in place. One student recommends an online joint calendar where students can see all of their deadlines, rather than having to go through each individual course shell.
Second year student Brianna Gibbons mentions the struggle to meet new people during an online semester. Without having a campus to mingle on, it can be tough for students to make new friends and gain a social life. Gibbons suggests an online hangout area where students can bond over more than just their course material.
Taking this into their own hands, students are creating group chats for each individual course. Every day, there are posts on the MUN Course Review & Advice Facebook group, asking for information on social groups for specific classes.
Some students are simply wishing their instructors would learn how to use the current online resources properly.
This new-normal is not only hard on students. Professors must now learn how to use new technologies and provide students with resources similar to in-class lectures. With the unpredictability of streaming services and spotty internet connections, some students may miss out on live lectures or not be able to understand them as well as they would in-person lectures.
Gibbons wants Professors to know that “we, as students, are open and willing to work with our professors who may need a little more guidance behind the wheel of technology… All we ask of our professors is to try your best in these difficult and strange times”.
Although most students would much rather be in-class, the general consensus is that MUN will likely continue to be online for the upcoming winter semester, and possibly in the semesters to follow. Some believe that until there is a vaccine available for COVID-19, students will be receiving their university education remotely.
For now, all we can do is hope that campus can safely reopen within the next few semesters and continue to give feedback to our professors and the MUN administration on how to make the new system as accessible as possible for everyone.
Insight from Terri-Anna, Samantha Inkpen, Brianna Gibbons, Meghan Kean, Em Williams, Brittney Meaney, Hanaa Mohamed, Skye Edmund, and Violet Mckenzie.