The Detriment of Online Learning
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The Detriment of Online Learning

Boy, if you told me Universities didn't care about the student and only were concerned about your money during online learning, then I totally would have believed you before. I just believe you more now.

The Detriment of Online Learning
Photo by Yan from Pexels

Online learning has been something else. It's unavoidable. I get it.

But boy are universities really testing us.

For some students, they fortunately can take a gap year. Wealthy students, students with stable finances, family, or extendable full scholarships.

Yet for students like me, low income, without a wealthy or even standard family, and on federal scholarships, it's a lot harder.

My scholarship requirements are 30 credits a year. Which is doable honestly in person, but online? Hard. Very.

Because like millions like me, my college education is reliant on these scholarships. I cannot attend without them. And the government has me by the throat on this. They do not allow gap years. They make you do 30 credits per year, no ifs ands or buts. Even with the coronavirus, the standards are still upheld.

You see this would be a little less hard if my major was different. Because I'm a biomedical major hoping to go to medical school, I have to maintain a near perfect GPA to remain competitive in the market. And online learning is severely hurting this possibility. Everyday I have to dedicate multiple hours to maintaining a stable sense of the coursework.

With vague syllabi, incompetent professors, and an uncommunicative university, this is indeed more of a challenge than claimed by the University.

Professors were given 6 months to prepare for this semester. The university was given 6 months, but instead of chairpersons helping the professors design their course, the professors were forced to navigate it on their own. For many of these people, they're dated. They don't understand the technology before them. It's easy for students to laugh and criticize their inability to use a mic or online whiteboard, but professors went into the profession understanding that the technology side of teaching would be limited.

My current frustration as of this morning is my physics lectures. The professor recorded them in the absolute worst way possible, and instead of the University holding her to the same standards they old the students, they green lighted these awful lectures and here I am in the morning trying to decipher word by word what she is saying.

Her microphone is muddled, she clearly is using built in laptop software, and you can barely hear her. Often there are multiple strings of words not picked up by her poor mic placement or inability to turn up the sensitivity of the mic. This could even be fixed post recording by just raising the volume cap and adjusting for noise, which takes less than 30 seconds.

But of course the University doesn't care. They let these professors with zero knowledge of how to do anything online or with their computer teach us, who are held by the throat of a system that doesn't care. A "suck it up". An ultimatum.

Either drop out, or face an awful awful learning experience.

I am 2 weeks into this semester, and I already feel tired. Professors don't upload files or lecture videos on time or when they say they will. They leave everything to these poor TAs that, as usual, have to do every little task they don't want to do. And they leave you dead in the road. I am so grateful that at least half of my professors are communicative and reach out. I know most professors want to do the best for their students, but for the ones that simply taught just to do something, sell their book or get on tenure, their combined incompetence and carelessness is deafening. The university's excuses for these failures are nothing short of "we just dont want to."

My complaints have such simple fixes. Any audiology student could probably fix it. Hell, I could fix it. But they don't want to simply because it is an inconvenience. All the while these professors are no longer beholden to in person attendance, and can drop off for days or weeks while having their TA's write up announcements and do everything for them. And they are still getting paid the same as the professors that have to do things themselves and try for their students.

Departments like Chemistry and Business at my university are treated like golden eggs. Their course coordinators are paid the highest, including their professors. They have an army of TA's at their side ready to do whatever they ask just to help pay off their own student loans. It's aristocratic almost. Other departments face poor funding, poor communication, and zero assistance from the University.

A quick look at r/Professors on Reddit can show how drained some of these professors are. And these are professors that actually use their computers for things other than just Facebook! (I mean, it's reddit. If they're on reddit they probably have some sense in technology).

Yet my University is charging students more. Lab fees are over $100 just for some poor buggy 3D simulation.

This is all just so sh*tty. I mean look at this poor response from a professor to a student about wifi access.

I mean who spit in this dude's coffee? Or eggs?Desloce on Reddit

Yet here I am, shackled into continuing this dreaded experience that is seemingly built against me just so I retake their courses in spring to drain more money out of, well I guess the government since it's not technically me. But that money the University is taking that they don't need considering they're a multi-billion dollar institution, could be going towards food on my table. Or at least a better computer. All the while I have to continue, or drop out for good since I certainly won't be able to afford college once my grants are pulled.

Anyway, I hope this is obvious this is me venting. The emotions built up in just these 2 weeks of learning is frustrating and difficult. I know I can do it if I push, but I worry for my peers. Thinking about their struggles hurts me, because I know there are much worse situations out there. I just am upset to see and experience an institution that has clearly shown they don't care about their students and are solely focused on taking our money.

Obviously not all admin are bad and out to get us, but the 13 members that sit on our Board of Trustees and regulate what we pay and the standards for the professors clearly don't care. It's as if it's just a neat little club they're in while they both get paid several hundred thousand dollars from the state to be there. Mind you, a state that has done a disgusting horrible job at handling the coronavirus, because DeSantis is a monster.

It's all just so sick.

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