Virtual classes causes big disconnect

Students and teachers alike are struggling with the transition to online learning

Peter Lemanski (left) and Ian Vickers (right) studying from a local independent cafe to access their online learning courses. Caroline Egan Photo
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By Caroline Egan

Students are struggling to adapt as Langara College has moved to online classes in most programs to help limit contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working all day in front of a computer screen, often at home where family or others might cause distractions and with new, often unfamiliar online tools are common challenges for students.

“It just doesn’t work for me,” said first-year general studies Langara student Kunwarpreet Singh, who explained how staring at a screen for too long strains his eyes and trying to keep a “quiet and focused place” is challenging.

“I would never study at home,” he said. “I now go to Tim Hortons or somewhere to work.”

Singh said that he gets stressed out and loses focus. “It’s definitely a lot harder.”

Langara psychology instructor Deyar Asmaro is navigating online teaching this year and struggled with the quick transition.

“I’m worried about the quality and retention being compromised being delivered online,” he said. “I feel disconnected.”

Asmaro said that he is more flexible with due dates and tests this year considering the technical and COVID related difficulties that students may be experiencing.

“It would be interesting to see what doors we could open with online learning.”

Another Langara student, Jet Simon, felt differently about learning online.

“It works for me.”

He said that since he is a first-year student in computer science, it is hard to make the comparison to on-campus classes. Simon said that it has not significantly affected his ability to work.

“There’s definitely a lot of pros and cons,” he said. “It’s different for everyone, but I would like to be able to use on campus services.”

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