Updated: Nov 12
Going back to college during a pandemic has been no easy task, and although every institution is set up differently, students generally fall into the category of not loving it. At first glance online classes and zoom calls would seem like a breeze, but to many there is more agony than ecstasy. Any form of education after earning a high school diploma or GED is meant for career and future preparation. The current situation is a time-wasting and money-draining hindrance.
Community College of Rhode Island is home to current Diagnostic Medical Sonography student Joslyn Rydberg, and she desired to speak on school versus work. Surviving during online classes goes deeper than paying attention, it is also about balancing a work schedule. Rydberg explained her issue with the workplace not respecting a proper college schedule. The assumption online classes take less time due to no need for transport is wrong. Deadlines for assignments are no longer when a class attends, but rather on days when the class doesn’t meet. All professors set up their Blackboards differently, therefore it is easy to get lost on the site, as well as miss an assignment submission. Even when one utilises the Blackboard app, announcements neglect to pop up until you enter the application directly.
Just as Rydberg struggles to connect her focus to a screen as a kinesthetic learner, Chrystal Farias does the same as a visual learner. The pre-veterinary technician CCRI transfer said, “The lack of notes and visual representation from professors is irate, the lack of physicality at such a high cost drives down a student’s motivation to learn, especially mine.” Although some teachers will encourage students to ask questions, it is hard to explain or grasp topics from a mere video chat, regardless of the streaming service. Farias ended the interview with, “The lack of step by step demonstration hinders my desire to learn, the institution I belong to doesn’t matter.”
Certain career fields encompass both visual and hands-on learning. One of these fields is cosmetology, and beauty schools such as Toni & Guy are working the same as RIC with minimal in person interaction. Toni & Guy student Haley Allen spoke on her experience thus far and said, “It was a lot harder, because you had no hands-on [learning], for a career that’s built on just hands-on learning. I feel as if I was robbed of $20 thousand because I keep learning the same things I had learned already- over and over again.”
The issue of monetary value during this pandemic has scared many people. Donald Dubeau, a Secondary Education major concentrated in Mathematics at the University of Rhode Island, is in a current gap period in light of online schooling not being worth the rate of tuition. Dubeau also related with Rydberg in the work situation. However, his issue posed the theory of working for money to supply tuition costs but not retaining the education anyway. He says, “I took a leave of absence. I emailed an advisor asking what my other options would be, since having four of five classes online would take way too much time from work. He basically said to ask somebody else. He told me to email my teachers about their specific course plans instead of assuming that I couldn't handle it. Between that, and the fact that they changed which classes I had in person/online like three or four times in a few weeks, I realized URI had no real game plan to handle a COVID school year.”
In agreement with Dubeau is another URI student, Emily Harrington, who is currently majoring in Psychology and Human Development, and Family Studies. Harrington wasn’t quick to hate on the way school has to be now, but rather how her institution is not mindful of the circumstances. “Being online is good in some ways but terrible in others. It gives us the flexibility of doing assignments on our own time, but, the downfall is that you’re basically teaching yourself the entire [courseload]. I still have an in-person class that takes attendance but the school is not following social distance guidelines.”
Institutions around the state have implemented a new way of online learning, whether it may be Zoom, Blackboard, Google Classroom, Sakai or Brightspace, students are not ready to use only this style of online learning. If a student has to pay for a lavish education in order to see a degree, the student should receive more than a YouTube tutorial which they can search up on their own. The price of a college education shouldn’t be so steep if the institution lacks organization and communication, and neglects to provide students with the materials normally provided on campus. As a RIC student who has spent more money for one class than on my 2020-2021 tuition year, I have concluded that pandemic schooling is self taught education and a financial burden.