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Student to student: Adjusting to remote education, pandemic

July 21, 2020 By Chelsea Hylton

It’s been a summer of resiliency for UW–Madison students, who’ve adjusted to summer courses going remote in the middle of a global pandemic.

While they report some obstacles to remote learning, they’ve also found some unexpected advantages.

UW students had to finish the second half of the spring 2020 semester online, so they are no strangers to this new way of instruction.

Rising senior Isioma Enwemnwa had a difficult time adjusting to online classes during the spring semester and it continued over to his summer class.

“The transition from in-person classes to remote has been pretty hard for me because of the type of learner that I am. It is very hard for me to focus just staring at a screen for hours on hours,” he said.

Isioma Enwemnwa’s work station at home. Submitted Photo

He says that one advantage of having his class online this summer is that he is able to take his time with it. He is taking Industrial and Systems Engineering 575, which can be a difficult course.

“Since I am an engineering major, a lot of the concepts are pretty complex and confusing so having the class online in a video, I am able to pause the video and go through the material at my own pace if I don’t understand it,” he said.

Rising junior Zee Akanni says her four-week class was a breeze. She recently finished taking Counseling Psychology 237, which is usually offered as an online course during the summer term.

“I just finished my class and it went pretty well. I didn’t have any problems and my professor and my TA were pretty accommodating,” she said.

Akanni’s professor played a key role in her success in the class.

“She was very knowledgeable in the realm and in the field so it helped her be able to accommodate us and understand what we needed from her throughout the class,” she said.

Computer screen with five people shown in video conference

A Physics Learning Center learning team meets online for a study session. Upper row, from left, are staff member Amihan Huesmann, student Cathy Tran and student Isabel Delo. On the second row is Thrishna Chathurvedula. The small photo in the lower left is peer mentor tutor Natasha Ignatowski. Submitted photo

Sometimes you just need to push through and get through the class. Rising senior Damitu Hamda is currently taking Economics 102 and Environmental Studies 102, which are two topics she does not have a lot of experience or interest in.

She also explains that the transition to online classes was not difficult for her.

“It wasn’t necessarily difficult for me to transition to the online format because I prefer online classes over in-person classes for topic/courses that I struggle with,” she said.

But one big help is that her classes are entry-level which means that the workload is not too overbearing for her, she said.

She does admit that time management has been difficult, with not just the classes but the stress of the pandemic and social change movements happening this summer.

“I work full time, my family is in constant need of me, and it feels like there is a lot going on at once politically and socially without enough time to process things,” she said.