First Full Semester of Online Learning

Yesterday was the final day of class for my first semester of online classes this school year. There were both some good and bad things about the online experience, so this week I’ll be writing about what it’s been like for me.

First, I’d definitely say that at least for me, the enjoyablility of each class depended on what the teacher was like. Some of my classes were really boring because all of the material was taught through slideshows and worksheets with practically no real engaging content. However, one of my teachers was able to create more of a natural classroom environment by spending a few minutes at the start of each class to just talk about anything with the class. He made projects interesting and encouraged us to get in contact with our classmates outside of the class which made it a lot more enjoyable.

Comparing this semester to last year’s system, it was a lot better with the synchronous system learning because teachers were able to answer any questions in real time with the class. Live presentations were also possible which made things more engaging as well, and teachers could help out students by sharing their screens.

Despite all the advantages there are with the online learning platform there were also a lot of technical problems that a lot of my teachers faced. Some of them were plain connection issues, but others had problems opening certain files, using new programs, or causing audio feedback while joining with two devices. One of my teachers started using Zoom instead of Google Meets halfway through the semester which was kind of annoying to switch to every single day. Especially since, I didn’t see that big of a difference using either of the two since the pros and cons of each were similar enough to basically be the same.

There was only one class where I got to know some of my classmates because of the teacher I mentioned before. I feel like that’s a big part of the school experience, but it’s still not really the same as in person. Everyone sort of did their own thing, and group projects were usually uncommon. It also didn’t really help that almost everyone in all of my classes came from different schools, so it was kind of like starting grade 9 all over again except you don’t even know a single person.

Overall, it was really comfortable being able to attend school at home, but at the same time most of the classes were pretty boring. Synchronous learning helped solved a lot of problems I had with the previous one we were using in March last year, but now you don’t really know any of your classmates. Still, I think things are going in a good direction, and it might just take time for teachers to figure out the best way to teach their courses.

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