As the pandemic has stretched most lockdowns and restrictions further than expected, universities around the country are opting for online classes instead of the usual in-person attendance at school. It is predicted that the pandemic restrictions will go on until the next year. Experts believe that it will get worse before it gets better. There are talks that we would have to live with the virus as part of the recovery plan.
In a pinch, the solution most schools are offering is to integrate online learning into the curriculum. Online learning involves offering online classes, asynchronous or synchronous, to students. Much like in a regular class, there will also be some form of class participation, class testing, and submissions, albeit through digital means and forms. Laboratory, lecture, and face-to-face discussions are coursed through Zoom, Microsoft Team, or Google Meets.
Unfortunately, there is a pushback against this type of learning experience. There is a movement to reduce the tuition fees themselves because most students and faculty will not be on-site anyway. Aside from the sustained high cost of the tuition despite only having online classes, most of the students describe the experience as entirely different from having face-to-face discussions. Both parents and students are complaining about how their homes cannot properly accommodate online learning. Motivation is allegedly hard to pick up or get by within the comforts of your own home. Distractions abound every corner of the house.
What can you, as a parent of an online student, or as the learner himself, do to properly adjust yourself and your child to the online school life?
A Stable Internet Connection
Having a stable internet connection is one of the most obvious and most important factors in the sustenance of online school learning. According to the latest research, even as a first-world country, America still has 6% of the population (or roughly 19 million people) not connected to a stable internet connection. A large portion of this (14.5 million people) hails from rural areas around the U.S. Your home must have access to a stable internet connection for online schooling. The mobile broadband connection just wouldn’t cut it. A fiber internet connection with LAN access to the student’s personal computer is the bare minimum.
A Working Computer System
A working computer with a web camera is the bare minimum for those who aspire to finish their studies even through online methods. Most modern video conferencing programs and applications require a higher grade computer system. Ensuring that you have the minimum requirements for a computer system will help you get to your goals, pandemic or not. Most personal computers and laptops are cheaper than before and are properly equipped with the correct specs and parts. Highly receptive microphones and a serviceable LED monitor are other parts you have to consider when choosing the right computer system. Through those parts, the student communicates well with the professor and the rest of the class.
A Conducive Study Environment
Setting up the perfect study environment is fundamental. While it is understandable that not all houses have spare rooms, setting up a room where the distractions are minimal is ideal. A room where there are ample lighting and space to stretch the legs around is necessary. Windows facing a green or lush background is also ideal. However, when it gets too distracting, having vertical blinds installed can help lessen the visual distractions of the outside. Having the proper ventilation and climate control mechanisms is also compulsory for a room where a person plans to stay inside for hours. Removing daily comforts like cushions and blankets will help set up a conducive environment for studying and listening. It will prevent the temptation of lying down or sleeping instead of actually studying.
A Study Desk
Having a dedicated study desk with ample supplies is one thing you must prepare to attend an online school. Even a makeshift table similar to a school desk will make you or your child believe that they are actually attending school. A study desk is an area where a student will spend the majority of his or her time. Ensuring that the desk is equipped with the necessary supplies and is partnered with a comfortable sitting chair will do wonders for any student’s motivation.
Online academic learning is a big hurdle that COVID 19 left us with. However, we must be able to adjust accordingly to survive and return to normal. The sooner we accept and adjust to our current predicament, the faster we get to live our lives pre-pandemic.