Distance learning due to COVID-19 proves challenging

Students and teachers alike have faced a learning curve when it comes to online teaching

During+the+coronavirus+crisis%2C+students%27+lives+have+changed+dramatically.+No+longer+are+they+gathering+at+Granite+Bay+High.+Instead%2C+they%27re+at+home+%E2%80%93+and+trying+to+make+sense+of+what+it+all+means.+For+GraniteBayToday.org+editor+Cori+Caplinger%2C+the+weight+of+statistics+homework+is+lightened+by+the+presence+of+her+dog%2C+Jubilee%2C+who+often+joins+her+on+her+bed.+++

Cori Caplinger

During the coronavirus crisis, students' lives have changed dramatically. No longer are they gathering at Granite Bay High. Instead, they're at home – and trying to make sense of what it all means. For GraniteBayToday.org editor Cori Caplinger, the weight of statistics homework is lightened by the presence of her dog, Jubilee, who often joins her on her bed.

By Mareesa Islam, Granite Bay High School

Never before has Granite Bay High seen its profound educational system shift to a delivery of content online.

That is, until now.

After the discovery of the novel coronavirus outbreak, nearly all schools across the country have been shut down, in hopes of preventing a further spread of the virus. To compensate for these sudden closures, many schools have transitioned to distance learning, allowing students to continue their academic journey from the safety of their home.

As both teachers and students are testing the uncharted waters of distance learning, mistakes and technical complications are, understandably, being made.

“The largest roadblock has been the time it takes to learn new (online education) platforms,” AP Language and Composition teacher Shannon McCann said. “In the first week, I was working day and night and I feel like there is very little to show for it.”

Despite educators’ tremendous efforts to grow comfortable with teaching their content online effectively, it will take time before regularity is established.

McCann described her experimentation with different learning platforms.

“I’ve been learning (how to use) Google Classroom and Zoom,” McCann said. “Google Classroom has been by far the best platform for my classroom needs, but I was completely unfamiliar with it, and I’m still living in the trial and error phase.”

Similarly, there are notable challenges facing the newly made online student as well.

These challenges include a “lack of motivation to watch lectures, take notes, and finish assignments… without the structure of school,” junior Sarah Budean said.

Although online learning does have its own drawbacks, it hasn’t been all bad.

“It’s nice to have more time to sleep or to do other things than ‘school’,” Budean said.

It’s nice to have more time to sleep or to do other things than ‘school’.”

— Sarah Budean

And although each student has their own preferred learning style, many view absorbing content at individual paces beneficial.

“(Distance learning) reduces stress and allows me to retain information better because I’m learning my own way,” junior Anoushka Mohindra said.

In addition to traditional academic instruction such as taking notes, reading textbooks, and watching lecture videos, many GBHS teachers are offering online “office hours”.

Through “Zoom”, an online conferencing company, teachers are able to communicate live with students who may have questions or concerns about new material.

“I feel (Zoom meetings)  do benefit students with questions,” Mohindra said.

In these unprecedented times, the only thing left to do is to try one’s best and openly converse with teachers and students.

“Students can take care of themselves by sticking to the due dates so they don’t get overwhelmed. Also, don’t be shy,” McCann said. “Email your teachers when you have questions or difficulties.”

This story was originally published on GraniteBayToday.org on March 23, 2020.