by Camryn Burke, Class of 2022
(See more of Camryn’s work on the blog!)
The recent outbreak of the pandemic of COVID-19 has shut down everything, including in-person courses. College students across the country have had to move away from campus, and professors are working to learn how to change their courses to work for remote teaching. It’s a stressful situation for everyone to adapt to. Students and faculty alike have expressed concerns, many of which are discussed in the most recent episode of the Teaching and Learning Buzz with online instructor Dr. David Joyner and the Center for Teaching and Learning’s learning and technology specialist Dr. Vincent Spezzo. As a CTL employee and a Georgia Tech student trying to adapt to this new learning environment, I’d like to share the things that have troubled me and the things I’ve enjoyed since the start of our remote semester.
Teachers and students are concerned about how the transition from in-person to online is going to go; for the duration of the semester; we’re not sure how well the content of the course is going to translate into the virtual world.
There’s also a lot of concern, from me and other students I’ve spoken with, about whether or not instructors are taking into account how stressful this situation is for us; students have lost jobs and career opportunities because of this pandemic, seniors have lost their graduation, athletes have missed out on important sports seasons, and this is all without taking into account the concern and fear about potentially catching the virus and passing it on to loved ones. It’s difficult to manage a heavy workload when you’re under so much stress and then to have to handle this workload virtually, something many of us aren’t familiar with having to do, makes it that much more stressful.
While there are many concerns regarding remote learning, many of my peers agree that it at least gives us something to focus on outside of the pandemic. Coronavirus has given us a lot of anxiety about our health as well as the health of our loved ones. We’re constantly bombarded with new and recycled COVID-19 information on the news, on social media, and our emails. I’ve even received messages from clothing stores about coronavirus. Being cooped up inside for the next several weeks with nothing to do makes it even more difficult to escape the anxiety brought on by the pandemic. Remote learning provides us with a distraction from this and an escape from the utter boredom of being at home all day long.
There’s also a certain freedom to online courses. It feels like there’s fewer time constraints for learning new content in our classes and completing assignments. If I can’t make it to my 1:30 class for whatever reason, I can simply watch my professor’s video recording of the lecture when I have the time. I can rewind or pause the lecture whenever I want, something you can’t do in a live lecture.
It’s been a lot harder to focus on classes without being in a physical classroom and with so much else going on in the world. I know my peers and instructors can very likely say the same. That’s why it’s more important now than ever for us to be supportive and accommodating to one another going forward with the rest of our semester, and to seek out assistance where it is needed.