Online classes pose new expectations for students

Online classes

Jessica Li

Oregon State University has announced shifting to remote teaching for Spring Term 2020 in order to comply with social distancing guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19 to students. Of course, it is understandable for students to feel anxious adapting to these new circumstances. Although difficulties may arise with the transition from traditional classes to remote instruction, the process can be made more smoothly and conveniently if students have an understanding of the system ahead of time. 

With that being said, in-person, online, and remote classes are all different from one another. 

Typically, traditional education involves students attending physical classrooms, giving them the opportunity to communicate with professors and peers face-to-face. 

In contrast, online classes at OSU are conducted through Ecampus. Enforcement of learning occurs through varied multimedia forms including video, animation, simulation, and interactive tutorial, and unlike traditional classes, there is no set attendance time. Despite this, engagement through interactions is still met. According to Shannon Riggs, the Ecampus Executive Director of Academic Programs and Learning Innovation, incorporated are student-content interaction that focuses on active learning; student-student interaction by means of participation in discussion forums, group projects, peer review, and more; and student-instructor interaction, in which the faculty conveys disciplinary content, leads discussions, answers questions, provides guidance, and gives feedback. 

On the other hand, the employment of Canvas and Zoom constitutes remote classes. Efforts are being made to ensure student success in response to these alterations. 

“To ensure the quality of student learning experiences, faculty are attending extra trainings, creating course materials, collaborating with support staff and each other, and are finding creative ways to make sure students are able to keep learning during this unprecedented time,” said Riggs. 

Due to the differences between the types of education, some aspects may be more favorable than others. For example, consider the higher flexibility but lower discipline and self-motivation needed for online classes.

“The pros of online class is you get to have class in the comfort of your own home, but cons is that it’s hard to focus a lot of the time, because you’re not in a school environment, so it’s easy to get distracted and off track unlike traditional classes where you’re surrounded by other students and it’s easier to ask questions and learn because you’re in that environment,” said Kyra Phung, who has taken Ecampus classes before and is a second year student studying business.  

Marleigh Perez, the Director of Ecampus Student Success, explains that the Ecampus students she works with tend to be older than on-campus students; often, they have to balance work and school while caring for their families, and some are even in the military. 

“To see such highly-motivated students balance so much in their lives to achieve their goals is downright inspirational for me and the entire Ecampus Student Success Team,” Perez said. 

According to Perez, the Ecampus Student Success Team supports students taking online courses and helps them navigate university processes, policies, and practices. The dedication demonstrated by the aforementioned Ecampus students shows that OSU Corvallis students can succeed as well in remote classes, even though it may take time to become accustomed.   

Riggs would like students to know that “Each course, no matter how it’s delivered, will be customized to ensure that student learning outcomes can be met, and that OSU staff and faculty are dedicated to helping students persist in their learning and succeed.”


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