With the transition to remote delivery at Memorial, I think students are more responsible for their own learning.
The assumption that university students are receiving the same quality of education with remote delivery as they did with on-campus lectures is misguided.
Watching a pre-recorded, one-hour video for a class can take me up to three hours. While the professor might provide a good explanation of the subject matter, I am not getting the same quality of enrichment by simply watching the video.
On campus, an hour-long class encompasses a variety of different discussions.
Students are able to ask questions and receive answers in real time, and professors will take the time to slow down and reiterate points when the consensus of the room is “we don’t understand.”
This is not happening in a pre-recorded video, and so I find myself pausing the video every few seconds to take notes, or search my textbook for clarification on a subject.
I also find real-time video call classes exhausting.
Some people say classes on Webex, Bongo or other video calling platform resemble the in-class experience. In my opinion, these types of classes leave me with the burden of becoming my own professor in some cases.
Online classes are often hectic, and do not occur as often as on-campus lectures would. Usually, the professor discusses the subject, to the tune of beeps and rings indicating that students have joined or left the meeting.
Meanwhile, as I attempt to scribble down notes on what the professor is saying, there is a chat box in which the more timid of the students pose their questions and discuss the topic. This peer chat is beneficial I must say, just not in this setting.
“Remember, you’re not in this alone.”
The result of all these factors makes a video call class akin to an on-campus class where you have the distraction of students periodically opening and closing the door to leave.
On top of that, you have an informative but distracting conversation going on around you as your peers discuss the subject matter in real time with both the teaching aids and each other.
I try my best to be as attentive as possible during in-person classes, but I still lose focus for a second when the person next to me drops their pencil. So it is easy to see how quickly this environment can become overwhelming for even the most focused student.
Learning curve for all
It’s going to take time to adjust.
The issues I have mentioned are an inherent part of remote delivery. Neither the professors nor the students are at fault for the learning curve many of us are experiencing.
If the remote delivery life becomes too chaotic for you, and you find yourself struggling to keep up with the content, get in touch with your professors. More often than not they are happy to help you.
And remember, you’re not in this alone.
If my experiences are any indication, there are peers all around that are struggling to adjust and the more we help each other, the stronger we will come out on the other side of this.