Online classes are the new normal and everyone’s still adjusting

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Photo by Kalil Magtoto

Millions of students around the, including students at UW, have had their studies disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March. 

The Winter 2020 term did not end as UW students had expected, when all in-person classes and exams were switched online on Mar. 13. 

In light of the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the university made the difficult decision to call off in-person classes for the entire Spring 2020 term.  

Co-op students have also been given some flexibility by reducing the minimum number of co-op terms required to three work terms.

Many courses are being taught online for the first time in years. 

“I would normally run this course in-person during the Spring 2020 term… if you are new to an online course, well I am too,” Christine Dupont, a BIOL 239 Instructor, said to her students. She is teaching the course online for the first time in seven years.

Students recounted their personal challenges with scheduling and distraction while learning remotely. 

Photo by Kalil Magtoto

Nilusha, a 2B Public Health student, found that online learning is allowing her to work on her time-management skills and she’s trying to find a balance in her daily routine. 

“Online school so far is kind of a whirlwind. I suddenly must get used to organizing my day so precisely, since there are no set-in-stone lecture times to structure my day and study schedule around,” Nilusha said.

“Also, I have to figure out how to properly balance my life between exercise, studying, family time, etc., since I’m finding it is so easy to simply stay in my room and study for 8 hours straight.”

Sarah, a 2B Health Studies student, is learning to manage her time wisely, while also fasting for the month of Ramadan. 

“I genuinely miss being in a classroom. Managing my time for studying, exercising, being in class, and other daily tasks was easier when I had places to be at specific times,” Sarah said.

“It has also been a challenge with Ramadan, as I am balancing religious rituals that happen throughout the night and time with my family while trying to stay on top of my work and waking up early for live lectures. While adapting to school online has been tricky, I’m learning to study smarter at home which, I hope, will benefit me throughout my academic career, and I am able to manage my time based on what I have going on that day.”

Given the circumstances and campus closures, many students have decided to return home and continue their studies from there. 

 “Figuring out how to manage my time efficiently has been a bit of a struggle, but I’m in relief as I don’t need to deal with commuting to school every day and worry less about possibly spreading the virus to my family,” a second-year Arts student said. 

“My professors have also been very quick to respond to questions I may have, as they spend a lot of time online.”

Students are learning to adapt to remote learning in their own unique ways. The COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges to both students and staff. However, the shift from online to in-person classes may have some benefits after the pandemic subsides, as students could learn greater time-management and self-regulation skills to allow them to study smarter.

The university has also recently announced that large classes will continue to happen online during the Fall 2020 term, while some classes and support will be available in-person.

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