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!