After almost two full semesters of studying during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio University students continue to work through the challenges presented by online learning.
Though OU invited more students back on campus for the Spring semester, the majority of classes are still being taught virtually. Both students and professors have gotten more accustomed to the online learning experience since students were first sent off-campus last Spring.
“I enjoy online this semester more than I did last semester because there's more structure,” Tyler Lewis, a sophomore studying business, said. “Some classes that I took last semester, everything was just due at the end of the semester.”
Though many students have gotten used to the virtual experience, online learning still poses challenges in regard to class loads and the difficulty of classes this semester.
“It's a lot easier to deal with technology, but the content is harder,” Lexy Harrison, a junior studying international public health said. “It's back to the regular difficulty from pre-COVID.”
Paige Boughambouz, a freshman studying physiology, said she’s struggled more with classes this semester compared to her first semester at OU.
“The (classes) are definitely harder because I have more classes that are asynchronous,” Boughambouz said.
Many students have reported feeling disconnected and have found asynchronous classes to be more difficult this semester than before.
“Last semester, some of my classes didn't meet at all. I never met or saw the professor,” Lewis said.
Harrison was only enrolled in asynchronous classes last semester, leaving her feeling isolated and disconnected from her professors.
“I don't know what they look like. I don't know anything about them and I didn't ever feel comfortable asking to meet up with them for office hours,” Harrison said. “I felt a huge disconnect there.”
Many professors of asynchronous courses instruct their students to review lecture videos that professors have uploaded to online learning platforms. Without direct contact with professors, students struggle with class material.
“If you were in class, you could ask them to explain (concepts) in a different way,” Boughambouz said.
Conversely, some professors may not offer online lectures and instead instruct their students to review solely using assignments and textbooks.
“I assume some people have recorded lectures, but I don't have that,” Harrison said. “I'm teaching myself all the material and doing the assignments. It's almost like there's no professor.”
Despite adapting to the challenges of online learning and asynchronous courses to the best of their ability, some students still question if they would choose to take online courses in the future.
“If it was a class and I felt like I could do online then I would take it, but if it was something that I can't do online then I'm probably not going to take it,” Boughambouz said.