When I heard that classes were going to mostly be online this upcoming semester, joy raced through my soul. Two semesters ago, in the Fall of 2019, I took a mostly online class load, and it was very easy to manage, as well as effective for my learning style.
Naturally, coming into this semester, I thought this would be my same experience with classes. I am sad to say that I was mistaken.
I feel like once upon a time online classes were a lot simpler because instructors realized that classwork can be intensive, as well as time-consuming because they also had in-person classes. Therefore, online students would get a workload designed to mirror the way assignments were given out in in-person classes.
Now, I feel as if I have at least seven assignments do every week, and these assignments are used to function as progress markers for students. Due to not all instructors having Blackboard Collaborate meetings and/or hybrid classes that meet in-person once a week, it is hard for them to track the progress students may be making. As a result, they are making students do a plethora of assignments.
It would be a different story if theses assignments didn’t all weigh on my final grade for the class because then I could update my professor when I have the time to let him or her know that I am staying on track without feeling pressured. It feels like classes are designed to be worked at your own pace but at the same time, it is not your own pace at all.
Although having all seven of my assignment do on Sunday night doesn’t seem like it should be a problem, when you log in to Blackboard and see everything, or look at your super-compact planner, it feels like a lot.
Some weeks it feels like I am drowning, but I barely manage to swim up above the water and catch a breath that will keep me holding on until the next Sunday. Then, we do it all over again.
Some suggestions that I could offer include:
· Have meetings with students two or three times throughout the semester to monitor progress.
· Have one assignment due per week instead of 2 or 3 smaller ones.
· Put a bigger focus on learning the material not just testing over it.
· Pace assignment better, instead of moving quickly, because some people need more time to learn complex topics.
This new way of life due to the pandemic is difficult for a lot of people and adding this new education style to it is just another obstacle. Maybe things will start to mellow out the more practice I get with having this much work online.
Overall, online classes are not my favorite, and I cannot bring myself to think otherwise. I do realize, however, as the old saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.
I can only hope that maybe things get a little easier, and I can make my way back to the shore sooner rather than later because I don’t know how many more times this single breath is going to help me get through.