Nate Marksman, News Reporter
Ontario post-secondary students are now required to participate in online classes because of the COVID-19 crisis.
And while learning at home has its advantages — a drastically shortened commute, for example — the shift to remote lectures and labs is presenting challenges for some students.
“I don’t like online classes because, in my house, the internet is not the best,” said Samuel Arogundade, a second-year Information Technology Solutions student at Humber College.
“I’m relying on it now, but it causes me problems and cuts out in the middle of lectures and group discussions which is bad news for me,” he said.
Arogundade is one of many post-secondary students across the province who in recent weeks has experienced first-hand the pros and cons of receiving a post-secondary education online.
He said he enjoys the convenience of waking up minutes before class and still making it in time to a lecture, but misses the interaction he could have with peers in the classroom.
Michael Onofre, a first-year Video Game Animation student at the Toronto Film School, is also discovering the pitfalls of remote learning.
Onofre said his assignments often require the use of equipment such as 3-D printers and high-powered personal computers, and without access to these on-campus resources, he struggles to complete some assignments.
“The biggest downfall to online classes is the fact that we have to use our home computers for the majority of the assignments,” Onofre said.
Before the COVID-19 crisis, most of the work was done on campus, he said.
“And some of us aren’t able to afford upgrades for our computers or … buy laptops,” Onofre said.
Post-secondary instructors have also been forced to adapt and adjust their lesson plans for remote learning.
Prasad Bidaye, a professor in Humber’s Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said he sees both the positive and negative sides of online classes.
He said he appreciates the opportunity to learn new technologies, such as Blackboard Collaborate and Panopto.
But, ultimately, Bidaye said these online applications cannot replace the “community and spontaneity” of in-person classes.
“With the closure of the campus, I can’t create the same type of environment where students can be in the same room, ask questions, debate and hear my responses in real-time,” he said.
“I can replicate this dynamic in a Blackboard Collaborate situation, but the medium inhibits participation, partly because some students don’t want to use their webcam and others struggle to communicate when there is a lag over Wi-Fi,” Bidaye said.
Classes will continue to be delivered online at many post-secondary schools across the province until further notice. Humber has announced its summer semester will be offered remotely, although programs with significant lab components will be suspended until at least the fall term.