Adjusting To The Virtual Classroom

By Molly Gadawski

Humans are a social species. So if you’re feeling alone and thrown off by this period of quarantine and social distancing, take comfort in the fact that you’re not the only one. The global COVID-19 pandemic has introduced many obstacles into everyone’s daily routines—including the transition to online classes for all high schools and colleges around the country.

Some students treated the announcement of the initial transition to online courses as an “extended spring break.” But little did they know they wouldn’t return to their school buildings for the rest of the current school year. Soon after the beginning of what they thought would be endless vacation, some students were struck with feelings of stress and anxiety as the decision was made for schools to move their courses online.

Teachers and professors all around the world were in no way prepared to convert their original class material to an online and virtual platform.

Many professors are all feeling unsure about following their originally planned course syllabuses due to the new format of classes.

“I’m still figuring out how to do all of this course work online,” said Dr. Veenstra, of Flagler’s science department.

“It’s been a learning experience for all of us,” added Dr. Doiron.

The uncertainty that comes with taking our classes day by day and rearranging assignments is enough to overwhelm any college student, as if there isn’t enough stress already as the end of the semester grows closer.

A big source of student stress stems from the fact that all of the students affected by the change in ways of schooling did not register to take an online class, but are now being forced to finish out the semester behind a screen instead of a desk. Student David Welch is among those experiencing the same feelings of uncertainty and pressure during the recent transition and reveals

“Online schooling can be hard, especially now that I, along with so many other students, are working from home, wherever home may be,” Welch said. “It was a somewhat mindless routine waking up every morning, walking to class, staying on campus for the remainder of the day to complete my responsibilities and then heading home. But now that I have these same responsibilities to manage from states away, my routine and schedule needed to be adjusted so that nothing slips out of the way. I miss the ease of having friends and faculty on campus to work with every day.”

One of David’s daily responsibilities includes being a part of PRSSA and other organizations on campus that require his attention and creativity. The various clubs that Flagler encourages its student body to participate in are still providing content and experiences for each of their members in the midst of the changing world around us. As a result, David has been working to create multiple videos each week for Flagler to upload as a part of their quarantine communication strategies. His videos serve as a pick-me-up for people in the Flagler community that miss seeing familiar faces and are looking for ideas of things to do to keep busy and keep a healthy mind and body.

An article written for in 2017 reported that the lack of face-to-face communication with instructors and peers left some students feeling disengaged and even isolated.

“I have found myself emailing my professors now more than ever, but it’s one of the easiest ways to get a response,” said Kaylie Lucash, a second semester junior. “But I think my favorite way of online communication with my professors is utilizing a video chat platform like zoom. It makes the “online classroom” feel more lifelike.”

Honest opinions from students demonstrate the imperative for students and teachers to meet face-to-face, so that there is less confusion, more encouragement and a better understanding on both parts of the spectrum when it comes to communicating educational or academic principles.

During this trying time, its only fair to keep in mind how much of a curve ball this was for students and faculty members across the board. Flexibility and communication on both ends are critical in making finishing out the school year in the most efficient way possible.

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