The concept of online courses have existed prior to the pandemic. But the pandemic has left a monumental impact, even as folks are returning the prior norms. With colleges closing or going fully remote, and professors having to rely on online instruction, some students are seemingly left at a disadvantage.
As someone who works full time, runs a small business, and is still trying to tackle the hardships that come with adulthood – online classes have been an effective alternative. I’m able to make sure that I’m able to stay on track with graduation. My life can look so different on a day to day basis. I really hold flexibility of my courses at a high premium. Because of the way I multitask, I rely heavily on online courses. It’s difficult and takes a lot of discipline. It’s almost completely discouraging when many institutions don’t give you the proper tools to make sure that you’re succeeding in your efforts.
Many schools don’t offer proper online support for those in online courses.
If you’re taking an online course with minimal instruction, you end up waiting hours. It could even be days until you get a response if you had a question about an assignment. As remote students we end up doing homework to the best of our ability with little feedback. We have to find other ways to make that sure we’re understanding the curriculum. Having to follow a set agenda can be difficult. You face the possibility of being behind even when you’re trying your absolute best.
Technical support is often left to the back burner.
Luckily there are some institutions that offer to pay for internet services for those who are attending colleges. But even that is very rare. Making sure students have access to a proper laptop, working services should be a priority. We’re expected to meet certain deadlines, join zoom meetings, and do proctored tests. There should be more resources provided to students to make sure these tasks can be done. This is especially for the schools who have the budget to do so!
Online course availability if often limited.
It’s almost heartbreaking to see that all of the class options for your preferred classes either don’t have a remote option or take place during times you might be working. It’s very unlikely that you will be able to take a day off of work to make a class for a whole semester. So you’re left with the option of having to miss that class completely. There should be more options for students who might not be able to make it to class in person.
There aren’t many spaces that help you to mentally prepare for online courses.
School is hard, and it’s even harder to keep up with if you’re not in an actual classroom setting. However, it shouldn’t feel like a punishment if you have to go a different route. No one truly preps you for the discipline, organizational skills, and mental capacity it takes to do online courses. You have to keep up with making sure your assignments are on time. It’s important that you read all of your necessary material. Making time in your busy schedule for this along with scheduling office hours can be a lot. As we’re entering our almost fourth year into this pandemic, with people still relying on online instruction, there should be more space on holding conversation for different tips on tackling online courses.
Lack of accessibility, and understanding of everyone’s path is a major flaw in college institutions – big or small. Not everyone is afforded the luxury of being able to solely be in school. For working adults, for those who are not able to travel to and from class easily, how are institutions making sure those students are fully supported? With people advocating to continue remote and online courses, I hope the conversation of accessibility appears more. College isn’t easy for anyone, and institutions should be investing more time, money, and resources into making this journey not as challenging for us students.
Alycia Kamil is a freedom fighter and believer of the people. She is a Freshman at Wilbur Wright College. Follow her writings, interests and more here.