What was once a luxury is now the new “normal” as Doane University students are expected to complete courses online for the rest of the semester.
After weeks of growing concern about the reality of the Coronavirus coming into the United States, Doane University announced during spring break (on March 12) that classes would be moved online. From there, professors had one week to adjust their syllabus to aid the online format. Now all freshmen, sophomores and seniors alike, are struggling while sitting behind a computer listening to lectures via Zoom. All these changes occurred in a whirlwind, without warning, or a proper grieving period as everyone was expected to evacuate the campus, leave their friends and go home indefinitely.
According to the Harvard Business Review, this could be the new future of higher education that has been long overdue. Citing the expensive nature of a traditional four-year, face to face format, as the main push for higher education to go online. Their main argument being that because online classes are more affordable, more people will be able to receive an education.
However, it must be noted that the reason that colleges are moving online is not for affordability purposes, but for the safety of the public’s health.
Graphic by Hillary Chaisson
Based on a survey sent out to Doane students, it is strikingly clear that students have a hard time being motivated, understanding the content, and enjoying learning from the online format.
Doane Students Miss Their Home
And we are not talking about their literal home but their home away from home, Doane. Without much closure, students have been exiled away from campus in a way no other student population has been before. Emotions concerning exile are still rare as many students worry about their ability to uphold academic standards while mourning the loss of their freedom.
Remote Learning Has Affected Student’s Ability to Maintain Motivation and Information in a Big Way.
Freshman, Mandi Laib, said:
“It [remote learning] has been difficult because I don’t do well with classes online. I have had them before so I know from experience. That is why I chose this school for in-person classes knowing that it would be a lot better for me to succeed. To learn to the best of my abilities I need to be able to ask questions and take part in lectures, which is not entirely possible with online courses. It also has been an overwhelmingly stressful time. I do well in school, but I can honestly say that I cannot give 100% of my efforts to classes online.”
Sophomore, Alexa Thompson, said:
“It’s very hard for me to find any motivation to complete projects or assignments for my teachers. I’m worried about being able to get stuff done and keep my grades up. Most of my classes I cannot take pass /fail, so I need to find some motivation.”
Doane’s Remote Learning has also Provided Some Unforgiving Challenges.
Junior, Rhegan Fritzler, said:
“It is hard to basically have to teach everything to myself. Most classes are holding optional meetings over zoom which are helpful in clearing up confusion, but there is just no way to get all the clarification needed over a video chat that you would get in person. Sometimes in-person classes will clear up confusion that you didn't even realize was there.”
Senior, Angela Twidwell, said:
“Focusing, and finding a quiet place to be productive is hard. Normally, when I have to do homework or things at home, I usually go to a coffee shop or somewhere that is not my house to get things done. Now I can't even do that.”
Ultimately, the Hardest Adjustment for Students is Simply Being Away From Campus.
Junior Ryleigh Gebers, said:
“I really miss being able to have conversations in a larger group where you can see everyone's faces at once since discussion-based classrooms are my preferred learning style. It's hard to know when to talk on Zoom. I think you miss out on a lot of other perspectives and that sense of community when everyone is isolated like this. It's absolutely necessary for now, but I hope that education doesn't shift towards online learning more permanently.”
Junior, Allison Jasso, said:
“I miss almost everything about being on campus. I miss seeing my friends every day, having more freedom to do what I want, having dedicated study areas, going to class in person, doing research, and even just seeing people's faces while I walk around campus. I miss so much and it hurts sometimes. I completely understand it, and I'm not upset about Doane going online. It's just really hard sometimes.”
Senior, Keelian Mark said:
“I miss being able to talk to professors. I believe that one of the best things from Doane is the personal relationships you can build with your professors. So not being able to stop in with questions or even to just talk about your day has been really tough. This is the same with just seeing friends or even just seeing the people who I have had classes with for the last four years.”
Right or wrong, it is apparent that students miss their second home, and are doing a great service for the good of the nation in a way no student generations before have. It is also apparent that moving a place like Doane permanently online as the Harvard Business Review suggests would be a tough sale for Doane students. The numbers don’t lie as the majority of students would rate their overall online experience as a three out of ten; Doane is all about making life-long connections, without those connections, Doane would just be another needless expense.