New and returning students chime in on what they think about online classes
Students from all backgrounds are facing challenges and advantages as the new online semester starts. Some feel isolated, while others enjoy sitting in bed during their lectures.
“A big part of university is the social aspect,” said Leigha Brett, a first-year Human Environment student. Brett is not only a new student, but also new to Montreal. “I’ll miss out on clubs and sports, I was hoping to get involved in that. I don’t know anybody, so it’ll be lonely behind the screen.”
Brett said that Concordia has offered online Zoom orientation for new students, but because of her work hours she was unable to attend.“That’s about it, they haven’t done much else,” said Brett, yet she admits she doesn’t see how the university could have done more for new students.
On Concordia’s website, there are lists of resources and a guide for new students, but Brett said that she finds the Concordia website confusing and difficult to navigate. Brett also feels that tuition remaining the same is ridiculous.“You are missing out on so much, so we should pay less,” she said. Some students are choosing not to return until classes are in-person once again.
“Working from home is really hard for some students,” said William Berger, a Fine Arts student. Berger decided not to take classes this semester as the art studios he relies on are closed. “It’s really hard to work alone at home, and over time it impacted my mood,” said Berger.
While Berger understands that the university had to close, he does hope that the university will figure out a way to have the art studios open in a safe way.
“Arts students need to have proper space and tools to work with,” he said. Other students are anticipating the switch to online courses will be positive.
“I love that I can sleep in and do my lectures at my pace, in my pajamas at home,” said Céleste Desrosiers, a second year student in Kinesiology and Clinical Exercise Physiology (KCEP). “I can rewatch [lectures] to review, or if I didn’t catch something.”
Desrosiers said that last semester her labs were put online, but now they are back in-person with small groups of students.
“The only impact is not having access to the learning lab where we practice with tools outside of lab hours with peers,” she said.
Desrosiers said that part of her feels that it is unfair that Concordia is charging the same tuition, as resources like the library will be closed. Yet she also feels that the university has most likely spent resources moving everything online and ensuring student safety.
Regarding online classes affecting grades, Desrosiers said she is only worried about online monitored exams.
“I am nervous that the system will think I am cheating even though I am not, for example if I look away just to think or if I go to the bathroom,” Desrosiers said. She expressed concern that this worry will make her lose focus during her exams.
Desrosiers said the best thing new students, or students that are feeling isolated, can do is to make a Facebook group with people in their program.“To help answer questions and to fill the social void we are all feeling,” she said.
Photo by Kit Mergaert