The Main Difficulties Students Face with Distance Education in the Time of Quarantine
This spring must be the most anxious one within our remembrance. When the coronavirus infection proved to be extremely dangerous and fast-spreading, most governments of the world canceled all public gatherings, including educational institutions. Students and their teachers left the classrooms to stay home and observe safety measures. Most institutions moved to distance education and turned into schools online.
Such a twist of events was unexpected and truly phenomenal. The rather new format, online education, turned out to be a challenge for those accustomed to the face-to-face classroom setting. The sudden and radical changes caused numerous unexpected obstacles for learners. Let’s talk about them.
The lack of engagement
It’s not that easy to focus on the lecture when you are in class, but it is even more complicated when you are in the relaxed environment of your room. On the one hand, sitting in a comfortable place with your laptop and a cup of tea might be delightful. On the other hand, if you are not used to studying in such conditions, numerous distractions will drain your focus.
- Make notes when listening to the lecturer just like you did in class
- Try to keep distractions away – close your social networks and other entertaining sites
- Work out a study schedule to know that you are prepared for the lectures and seminars
- Do some reading before and after the lectures
- Ask questions if you don’t understand something
The lack of communication and feedback
This is especially a serious problem for students who attend hand-on classes like art, dancing, and lab science – they need teachers to be in the same physical environment. Students might feel anxious and lost since they might have concerns about their learning and need a response.
- For your art classes, record videos and share them with your tutors
- Don’t hesitate to write regular emails to your teachers and ask about your development and results
- Keep in touch with lecturers and seminar assistants to make sure that you have all necessary and up-to-date study materials
- Be patient when waiting for a response – remember that your teachers might be overwhelmed with delivering online lectures as well as responding to other students, just like you
Self-education as a new practice
During the quarantine, students will have to embrace self-education as their main everyday practice. In case you are not very used to such format, you may need to change your entire perception of education. We recommended you read samples of academic papers, various guidelines, and manuals. Learn from the examples of other authors and try to reflect on your development. Self-education is not easy because you are the one take the responsibility on your shoulders. However, with smart approaches and methods, you will find this skill more than beneficial.
- Check examples of professionally-written papers and mind not only the content, but also structure, style, logic, and tone
- Ask yourself questions about the materials you read and try to be honest if you don’t understand something
- Try to evaluate your progress and come back to the materials that seem complicated to you
Problems with tools for studying
Most students have computers and an Internet connection. However, some of you don’t own them, and this might become a real problem during the online homeschool period. Some families have only one computer, while all the members need to continue working and studying. Overloaded networks, slow connection, and a lack of devices can cause severe troubles.
- Ask your tutor if there are student services that may provide computers and other equipment
- Ask your classmates and friends if they can borrow a laptop
- Even if you have a computer, make sure to find out what are the other study tools provided by your college and take advantage of them
Coordination and group studying
Students find it hard to test and analyze their own way of thinking when they cannot compare it to other people. Virtual school is not the most comfortable place for group projects and cooperation, but the collaborative aspect and social contact are essential for your intellectual and emotional development.
- Zoom and Skype will help you arrange conferences and video chats with your classmates and teachers
- Swap study tips, ideas, and impressions with your classmates during the projects and don’t get isolated
While the talks about digital classrooms and online education have been widely discussed during the last years, the extremal situation with global quarantine shows: we are not entirely ready for that. Indeed, both students and teachers have to overcome numerous difficulties to start studying online. Without an opportunity to see tutors in the same environment, students suffer from anxiety, inability to evaluate their progress without detailed feedback, and a lack of study tools. Gladly, most modern students are tech-savvy, so they will definitely overcome these difficulties. Arm yourself with these tips and stay calm – the quarantine won’t last forever.
Jeff Blaylock writes articles and blog posts on topics related to digital innovations in education, children’s psychology, and personal growth. Currently, Jeff is working on an extensive writing project devoted to self-management techniques for youngsters. Writing his articles, the author pays special attention to issues connected with tracking one’s progress without exterior evaluation.