Editors Note: ‘Covid on Campus’ is a four-part series. This is the fourth part on the Coronavirus and its impact on the College.
As colleges closed their campuses in the face of the spread of the novel Coronavirus, course instruction had to be moved to remote and online formats in rapid fashion.
This prompted many to wonder what the ultimate impact this period of time may have on online learning in higher education and how it has affected students across the country.
At South Plains College, faculty and staff worked to the best of their abilities to make the transition as smooth as possible for their students. However, some students faced many challenges, whether it was finding internet access or having to be more accountable when it comes to studying.
“I was hesitant about the idea [of online classes] at first, especially since one of my professors admitted she does not teach online,” said Michael Russell, a sophomore history education major from Lubbock. “So for her, and other professors like her, I find that it is very tough to transition when they are inexperienced in online formatted classes. But, I found the transition to be relatively easy. However the biggest challenge was finding the motivation to complete classes. With no class to physically attend, I found it tough at first to hold myself accountable.”
For many professors and students, this was the first time they had to use programs online for classes. There are many students who would prefer to be in a classroom setting rather than online, specifically for the learning environment alone, along with the difficulties that come with online classes. For many, it was a hard adjustment to transfer to all online classes because they are so used to the traditional learning environment.
“I have never taken an online class,” said Samantha Valdez, a sophomore pre-nursing major from Slaton. “I didn’t know what to expect. The first couple of weeks were hard to get used to. But after a while, I got a routine down. But, I miss being in class and asking questions with a right away answer of what the topic is we are talking about. The connection of being in person with my peers and professors makes the environment better to understand, and I learn more. I’m more of a visual and hands-on learner, and with the online classes I was taking a big jump out of my comfort zone.”
There were also many students at SPC who seemed to be unaffected by the transition. Whether their classes were already online or they preferred online classes over face-to-face, many students felt confident about the quick transition.
“My experience with the transition took longer than I expected,” said Erica Wiggins, a sophomore business administration major from Lubbock. “Half of my classes were already online, so there wasn’t much fuss with those classes. But with the other half of my classes, it was quite stressful only, because one of the classes was more hands-on and I needed extra resources, such as extra time in the Math Building study rooms and tutoring.”
The novel Coronavirus forced both students and professors to reimagine and relearn how to deliver and receive an engaging learning experience. Near the beginning of the pandemic, students were presented with new challenges to face, but also a massive opportunity to break out of old habits and create new and impactful modes of learning that take advantage of technology.