As the Fall 2020 semester has come to an end, I not only need a glass of wine but I need to get a few things off my chest. For many of us that had to endure a complete semester virtually/remote/online I realized that I have been conditioned to a classroom environment. I found myself missing campus, interacting with my cohort, or even just sitting in the classroom faking like I understand what one of my professors were lecturing on. I miss the social aspects of going to campus even if I barely participated.
Are we conditioned to believe that the best learning only happens in a classroom? I think that for some of us we have been conditioned to think that you learn in the classroom and then apply what you learned outside the classroom. For me, I lost motivation and lacked determination to complete assignments or even at times "attend" class via Zoom. Having previous online learning experiences it was extremely hard for me to adjust to this new learning platform that was used by my university. I thought this online experience was going to be better than it was but I also didn't expect much more than I was given due to my university not offering online programs until Fall 2019. Even when they launched the fully online degree program, it was one degree offering and it is only on the graduate level. We were still not prepared to have a 13 week semester fully online.
Did colleges & universities rush to get back to a normal learning environment? For the colleges and universities that resumed some limited in-person learning they didn't want to lose money. This pandemic has shown that our society is concerned about money. As a business major we are taught that the goal of any business is to maximize firm value (wealth). My response is: at what cost? From the management of this pandemic it is clear that colleges and universities are no different. They want to make the most money as possible. Resuming the normal activities of the college experience like allowing students to live on-campus, attending classes as normally scheduled, and holding sporting events are examples of how schools wanted to get back to normal.
What did I even learn this semester? Being a graduate student, the classroom structure is different than it is in undergrad. To succeed in graduate school, you have to read a lot and think critically. Knowing these 2 important facts about how the classroom is structured, this semester was my worst yet! I wasn't engaged. I wasn't motivated. I really just went through the motions. Additionally, the pace of the semester felt rushed. There were no breaks in the academic calendar nor did any of the professors offer additional time "off." With this being said, I do not know if I retained anything this semester. Although I didn't learn anything academically, I did learn more about myself.
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