Taking College Courses Online During a Pandemic

I’ve been taking online classes since March, I believe. It’s already November, and we still have yet to find a cure for COVID-19. But enough about that, I want to take the time to do a mental check and talk about my experience with online classes so far. One thing for sure is taking online courses this semester is way different from last semester.

When UH Manoa moved to online classes for the remainder of spring 2020, students still had to show up for school at their scheduled time, except it was through Zoom. Yep, I still had to get up for my 9:00 a.m. social media class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’ll admit, it was nice because it felt like I had a routine to stick by, despite being stuck in the house all day. There were some glitches along the way, and professors were still figuring out how to use breakout rooms on Zoom. I also had a habit of looking up movie bios during my lectures; that habit never went away. Taking Biology labs through worksheets and youtube videos were the worst, but I survived it all!

There were rumors that UH Manoa would return to in-person classes for Fall 2020, haha. But that never happened. Instead, I got stuck with asynchronous courses, where I got to do the coursework on my own time. That was nice, but it still felt like summer because there were no weekly class sessions, except for my soft skills in the workplace class, but it’s more like monthly sessions. We didn’t have anything in October, so I almost forgot about our session for the first week of November.

Besides the lack of interaction, I don’t see the purpose of reading articles and watching youtube videos every week. It’s not the same versus having lectures, the professor giving examples of the concepts, and students sharing their thoughts on the material. Some professors got creative and started utilizing Flipgrid, which is a site that allows students to record short video responses for the assigned topic. Students can view their classmates’ video responses and get a different perspective on the coursework. For my Hawaiian studies course, I always watch some of my classmates’ responses to make sure I don’t say anything out of the ordinary; and because the material is hard for me to grasp.

My professors are cool, but some of them aren’t the best at giving instructions. For the sake of privacy, there is one course where the professor gave such vague instructions for our campaign project. My group and I have been working on this project for about 11 weeks, and we still have no clue what it’s about. I asked her for help too, but after the third time I asked for clarification, I gave up already. On a more positive note, my group members are great and super friendly.

To make sure I don’t go insane, I stop doing coursework at around 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and spend the rest of the night watching youtube and listening to music. I like to do one assignment per day because that’s a reasonable goal. I’m the type of person that likes to get something done once I start it, which has taken its toll at times. When I worked at the UH Manoa Art Gallery, I was able to do homework on the job. So I’d do one to two assignments there and one more at home. Now that I don’t have any synchronous classes, I can space out my work and still get everything done before they’re due!

Another major plus to taking courses online is not taking the bus to school. Though, now I’m left with all these six to eight-hour-long rock, Disney, AC/DC, and Def Leppard playlists. I made them specifically for those four hours I spend on the bus (going and coming home). Before COVID-19, it’d take me two days to get through my Def Leppard playlist. Now, it takes me six days to finish the playlist, maybe longer. I love “White Lightning,” but that is sad!

I only have a little over a month of online classes, so I’m almost there. I was hoping to be back on campus for Spring 2021, but it doesn’t look like that will happen. Things may change, but who knows! I was looking forward to spending my last semester of college with the Public Relations Student Society of America and Disney Ohana Club, especially since the latter was hit hard by the pandemic. Now we only meet for socials and general meetings, so I don’t get to see the members much anymore. Our last social was in the second week of October.

There are some positives and some negatives to online courses, more so during a pandemic. But everything is going to be ok because this won’t be forever. I may not be able to have a college graduation ceremony in Spring 2021, but as long as I get to meet Def Leppard one day, I’ll be fine!

For those of you taking classes online, how are you handling them, and what do you during your free time? Let me know in the comments down below!

Take care and see ya real soon!

19 thoughts on “Taking College Courses Online During a Pandemic

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  1. Sounds like, however weird this all has been, you have a good handle on things and you’ll be just fine! Me, I’ve been out of school so long I can’t even remember half of it, but my kids (11 and 9) are home, doing remote learning online. When this all started in March, the online portion was, um, how do I put this charitably? A little disorganized. Understandable, of course, and all things considered we were lucky it happened at all since everything changed so quickly. But the teachers and the Board worked hard and got a credible semblance of order together by the end of the school year. They must’ve continued to work at it over the summer because now, for this new school year, it’s a pretty tight ship. There’ve still been some bumps along the way (tech glitches, teacher swaps, etc), but for the most part it’s actually pretty damn good. The kids miss their friends, but these are the times. There was an asynchronous option for them, but we opted for the real-time (teacher present) route as our kids benefit from that connection. They start around 9 am and end around 3pm, just like a school day, and there are plenty of breaks in there too (we get outside and run around, etc), so they’re not staring at a screen all day long. None of this is optimal, we all want it to be ‘back to normal,’ but for what it is, it’s alright. Stay strong, Lana, you’re getting there and doing great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing your story Aaron (well your kids stories)! I’ve always wondered how elementary and public schools were handling online learning. When you say disorganized, didn’t you talk about on Mike’s live stream how they were letting too many kids in the classroom? I’m glad things are looking better for your kids. Synchronous classes sound like a good way to go; I kind of wish I went down that route, because I miss that connection. I like that your kids have breaks so that they aren’t staring at a screen all day (thank goodness for bluelight glasses for me). I also hope your kids are doing well and that we’ll be done with this soon so that we can return to in-person classes.


      1. Well, it started out with smaller in-person class sizes, but then they (probably wanting to save money) increased them back to normal size. Too many variables and moving parts for a teacher to control, when numbers are only getting worse all around us. Our area is still low, but it wouldn’t take long for it to get worse. I like the idea of bluelight glasses. We’ll have to look into those for the kids! I fear it may be a long while before things return to how they were.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I get the saving money part, but that’s nuts and irresponsible in my opinion. I’m glad teachers and students are adjusting better. I think overall cause people are getting impatient, more cases are rising. Everywhere. I hope it’s not a long while though. I got my bluelight glasses from Amazon, in case you’re interested (I don’t know how much time your kids spend on their devices, even before the virus).


      3. It’s people’s impatience that will be the literal death of many. Well, that and the idiotic belief that reasonable precautions are an infringement on their personal liberties… I’ll check out Amazon, thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Ok I didn’t want to insult people unless someone said it first, but that is true. People are sick of the lockdowns already and the infringement on their personal rights is just dumb. Health people even explained why we have to wear masks in the first place and they still won’t listen. Even social distancing. Those dang grocery stores are so packed that they’re not even following the six feet apart rule anymore. I’ve been chatting with someone from Australia and the cases are low there due to intense lockdowns. No problem!


      5. Cases are low here, comparatively, too, but we still have our share of numbnuts (I’m not afraid of offending people who need to give their head a shake) who don’t feel any of this affects them. We’re all sick of the lockdowns, but we’re all going through this together, no one above another.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yesss we’re all in this together! This whole situation makes me mad. People not wearing their masks (some not correctly) and not social distancing, standing too close and walking past me in the store, and acting like this virus means nothing. Well they didn’t have to plans to see Def Leppard on the stadium tour did they?!?!?! Ok that’s my little rant for the day. Those selfish people need to realize that the more we follow the health guidelines and do everything right, the sooner we’ll be done with this pandemic (things won’t totally be back to normal, but hopefully to a point where we don’t have to wear masks anymore).


      7. I’ve said for years that people (in general) are lazy and selfish and ignorant. I’d get called misanthrope and could only nod in agreement. But I figure this situation is just showing folks for who they are. Fortunately the dumb ones are usually the loudest, therefore easiest to avoid.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Speaking of dumb, I heard that millions of people are traveling over the holidays, despite warnings from the CDC and other health people. Again couldn’t have said it better myself about people being lazy and ignorant. I’m wondering what would happen when we don’t have to wear masks anymore if I’m going to give the death stare to everyone that made me mad during this pandemic, especially those that never wore their mask properly.


      9. Good interpretation for grudges. It makes sense too because I’ve always looked at annoying people as tests to your patience level and how far you’ll go without getting mad.


    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Kevin. It’s a bit weird doing online classes, but there are positives to everything. That would be nice to experience a fancy graduation ceremony, but that’s not important to me anymore, as long as I get my diploma. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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