Students share thoughts on online learning, the good and bad

For the past 18 months, students and faculty have been grappling with the struggles of a COVID-19 impacted learning environment. I walked around the Oakland Center and asked students to share both their positive and negative experiences with online learning and attending college courses during a pandemic. Here are their responses.

Eli Russell, Marketing

Negative Experiences: “The worst was definitely statistics because it was rough doing online testing. I really disliked it. I normally do better if you can include the work instead of just the answer, and with online statistics, it was just [listing] the answer as all you could get credit for. I had a rough time rounding correctly, I guess. It was rough for me.”

Positive Experiences: HC 1000 was pretty fun. I liked that a lot. I made some friends. I actually have a close friend that I met in HC 1000, so that’s probably been the best experience.

Nikolas Vilotti, Economics

Negative Experiences: “The worst experience was overall technical difficulties. I’m sure [there were difficulties] during the beginning of 2020 when there was the switch to online [learning] at OU, I wasn’t here at that time, but in the fall of 2020, there were a lot of technical difficulties, especially among professors who weren’t technologically enabled and things like that, so I think that was probably the worst part of it. It wasn’t too bad, but online learning for me wasn’t as bad as it was for other people.”

Positive Experiences: “I had a communications class. I remember I had the class at 8 am. I remember waking up at 7:47 am and getting to class on time. That overall encapsulates my experiences from online learning.”

Jenna Ostranter, Elementary Education

Negative Experiences: “I really didn’t like it when professors weren’t hands-on. It was putting stuff out there and letting you figure it out on your own. It felt really lazy to me. It was one of those things where it’s like ‘Why am I paying to be in this class when I’m sitting in a room, and you’re not helping me, and you’re not answering emails and things that? That was really a struggle. That happened with a couple of different classes.

Positive Experiences: “I’ve had great experiences too. My professor, Lauren Childs, was so great. She had us do a bunch of surveys before class. She would reach out. We had zoomswe even had one-on-one zooms to see our progress. It was a lot of step-by-steps with feedback that I appreciated. I ended up getting an A in that class, and that was really great.”

Elizabeth Muscott, Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences

Negative Experiences: I live four hours away from campus, and it’s really hard for me to even not be in the classroom because I am a person who needs to be in the classroom and have that experience with the teacher because it’s one thing to be in the room with the teacher and hear the professor say stuff instead of a pre-recorded lecture. For me, that was really hard.

Positive Experiences: My professors were really engaging. They wanted you to succeed whether or not the classes were online. I had a biology teacher who had experience with teaching online classes previously, so that made it a lot easier. She had known what online teaching was like versus some professors who might not know how to work some things or how to do some things. It was confusing for them, so it had to be more confusing for the student who had never done online learning before for freshman who had no college experience prior, like me, that made it really hard.