UWindsor community talks about the pros and cons of online college courses

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About a month after class starts, professors and students seem to be handling online college courses in very different ways.

Lisa Porter, professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Windsor, told CBC News that although she lacks in-person interactions, online learning seems to have made students more comfortable asking questions and to present.

Meanwhile, fourth-year sociology student Nermeen Khan said everything was “pretty bad”.

The University of Windsor is one of many universities in the province that has brought the majority of its fall and winter semester courses online due to the pandemic. Beginning in 2021, the university said it eventually plans to allow more in-person interactions pending the progression of COVID-19.

But for Khan, these changes likely won’t apply to her program, meaning she will spend her senior year rarely setting foot on campus.

UWindsor sociology student Nermeen Khan said this school year was “pretty bad” and she didn’t even feel like she was in school. (Jacob Barker / CBC)

“It’s really stressful … to be able to see people, to be able to hear people or to ask someone a question, like things that give the impression of being in class, do not exist , so it’s really hard to pay attention, ”says Khan.

Although she is in her senior year, she said she felt like she was doing a lot of self-study. And without her usual study routines, like working in the library, she said it was hard to find motivation.

“It doesn’t feel real… like nothing feels real. I don’t even really feel like I’m in school right now. I just feel like I have to work really hard for myself. motivate, ”Khan said. “[I’m] being loaded more than when sitting in class and the quality of learning does not seem close [to before]. “

If there is one bright spot to be learned, she said she felt like she could work at her own pace and the teachers were more forgiving.

UWindsor student union president Herman Dayal said he has gathered feedback from students and updated the university in hopes they can continue to improve their online courses. (Jacob Barker / CBC)

Disconnection, loss of community

The president of the University’s Student Alliance, Herman Dayal, said he had heard a number of concerns from students and made a point of relaying those comments to the university. .

“There’s not the same sense of community in terms of, you know, working collaboratively with other students,” he said. “It has been an overwhelming challenge at times. ”

Porter said she also experiences this sense of loss of communication and believes that being online for too long creates disconnection.

“It’s hard online to kind of assess what they’re holding back, what they’re learning,” Porter said.

Biomedical science professor Lisa Porter says she can see there are positives and negatives to the year, but has found that in addition to feeling disconnected, students seem to benefit in modest ways. (Jacob Barker / CBC)

But, she says, she can already see how this transition has been beneficial.

“I think online students are really comfortable asking questions and being themselves, which I actually enjoyed a lot,” she said, adding that students with speech impairments told her they had better express themselves in class online and she found it made it easier for students with accessibility needs.

Despite the benefits, she said she “didn’t want to stay like this forever”.


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