What Do You Hate About Online Learning? Teachers RespondApril 17, 2021
A very large proportion of university students are unhappy with online learning. Are you one of them? You do not wish to ever experience it again. Right? The length of online classes is shorter than face-to-face lectures, but you also have to do more work. And you hate it. Must you write down your sentiments and send them to the editor of your university newspaper?
The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency released a survey, and it revealed that up to 50% of university students do not like online learning at all. You're pursuing a degree in visual arts, and this lack of practical learning affects you. You told your tutor that it was far from your holiday in London (many moons ago), where you recalled how you were more interested in the statues of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert than Buckingham Palace. And how your father gave you a puzzled look after you asked him why Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, didn't get the title of Prince Consort. Your tutor could only remind you to be more patient. (And he didn't seem interested in the subject matter at all.) You figured out that your former roomie, a Film and Literature (dual) major, would enlighten you.
You were amazed at his composure whenever the subject of rent was brought up. It would bring out his inner literary buff, as he would attempt to make fun of it: "Rent and Punishment", "The Rentman Always Knock Twice", and "The Dogs of Rent". He swore that it was more fun than writing a paper on his favourite literary quote ("An author ought to write for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmaster ever afterwards." - F. Scott Fitzgerald). It was crystal clear that the likes of him wouldn't sympathise with the likes of you, but you weren't envious of the number of essays that he must do during the final quarter of the school year. You must swallow your pride and ask your professors.
One of your professors asked you if you have a problem with time (or the lack of it) while the other checked on your mental well-being. (Are you isolated from your mates?) Your favourite professor asked about your opinion on a not-so-recent exhibition in St. Paul's Cathedral, if you happened to catch it (during your last holiday). It was the finest piece in visual arts in recent years, she said. And it would be a shame if you missed it all. (You smiled at her, which was a vague response to her raving. You didn't tell her that your parents were more interested in the Pablo Picasso Exhibit, which was held at the other end of Millennium Bridge.) You complained about an IT issue the week before last, and how it could be potentially unfair to science, engineering, and visual arts students during the winter season. (And you spilled the details.)
Will these problems continue into 2022?
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You must not be ashamed about the appearance of your house (or the presence of family members). You don't have a bookshelf, which could've provided a nice backdrop during your video meetings. And you sense that your coursemates might think of you differently after you reveal the living room. Troubled times won't make them fuzz at such things. (If they do, you can ignore such remarks.) You don't have to impress them about your place, as this somehow unconventional method of learning requires your utmost concentration. (There are many things to worry about, not to mention distractions.) If your parent (or sibling) drops by (and says hi), then don't be annoyed. You might invite one of your mates. Soon.
You must love the coursework. If you truly love learning, then time won't be an issue at all. If you've been struggling with the lack of time, then tell your professor(s) about it. You might be hoping for more flexibility, if not an extension on the deadline of your next assignment, but don't get your hopes too high. If it requires procrastination, then you must not have second thoughts about it. And this is not the time to doubt your capability. (You can ask any family member for assurance.) You can take comfort in what your former roomie said about the life of a double major. (Always on the edge of collapse. Very much like Britain, your father said.)
You must be grateful for the flexible access to materials. Your parents were surprised at your romanticized view of the university library, of how the pandemic would threaten to alter this aspect of student life (and turn it for the worse). You didn't tell them that the library was where you and your mates would meet and chat about overrated artists, the importance of learning an Asian language and the Instagram-worthy experiences in your campus during the past year. This conversation would last half an hour, as it would prepare you for your serious undertaking of the coursework. You might miss it sorely, but it doesn't mean that the world would come to an end sooner. Your professors highlighted the advantages of this "flexible access to materials", more than once. If you haven't opened your mind, then it's not too late.
You must redefine academic interaction (or the lack of it). You read the comments of job-ready final-year students (on social media), on how this lack of academic interaction would affect their career options. It would be better to focus on your predicament if this lack of in-person interaction would dampen your enthusiasm. You can set aside an hour to chatting, emails and Zoom meetings, with your coursemates, where you can discuss anything under the sun. It must inspire you to perform better, if not look forward to the colder months.
You must not worry too much about assessments. You might question your professor's objective remarks on your last assignment, as well as the questions you asked after the online lecture. If you show such zeal, then you don't have nothing to fear about. As a matter of fact, this attitude would make you not dread Reading Week. Don't ask your former roomie about it, as he might get upset after forgetting Eudora Welty's quotes.
Look, I've Always Been Big on Education
If you still have issues, then visualize your graduation, of how your family is cheering you. They are so proud. (If you have a degree, doors open up for you.) Don't ever wonder if you would ever going to get through this pandemic, as you must finish your studies.
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