Oct 28th, 2020, 01:15 PM

Students Reflect on the Difficulty of Online Classes

By Oscar Padula
Image Credit: Hera Soysal
Throughout AUP's response to COVID-19, many students have grown to dislike remote learning.

With AUP once again expecting all on-site students to attend class on campus, many are relieved not to participate virtually and have offered reflections on the problems remote classes can cause. Several weeks ago, AUP limited on-campus learning by setting up an alternating schedule for odd and even ID numbers, which forced more onsite students to switch to attending classes online. Students who usually attend class on campus found online classes to be a different experience altogether.

"Taking online classes is quite frustrating for me," says Hera Soysal, an onsite sophomore. "In class, I am able to focus, and I end up participating online. The biggest difference is there is less engagement from students while participating online."

The balance between online and onsite has been a major challenge for students. "There are times when you don't know when or who is talking, especially if the student doesn't have their camera on," says Charisma Irvine, an AUP freshman. "Group work is harder for hybrid classes. If someone is in a different timezone, it can be difficult to have a steady connection for a video call over an hour."


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Other students have also commented on the technical difficulties and awkwardness that drain class time. Soysal described the technology as, "hard to navigate for some professors and students. Professors forget to include the students online, creating less engagement throughout the class." Student Allen Blackwell remarked that, "there is a barrier between the students and the professor." As a business sophomore, he feels this makes it easier not to focus on work.

Other students also mentioned how difficult it is to engage because of the distractions present while studying at home. "It is harder to focus online because there are a lot more distractions, plus being in the same environment in which I sleep and eat make it harder to focus on work," says Corrie Delva, a freshman of AUP.

Yet during hybrid classes, some students found that there were perks in attending class from home. "If AUP had to move all the classes online, I would be fine with that purely for the fact I can go to class in bed," Blackwell said. Other students even felt safer not having to use transportation to get to school during the pandemic. "There have been times when I haven't felt safe in transportation because the metro was packed," said Irvine, who currently lives in La Défense. Students with safety concerns had the option to switch exclusively to online classes during the beginning of the semester, but those who chose this option had to sacrifice the advantages of the in-class experience, since the AUP has said the change is permanent. 

In a recent email sent out to the student body, AUP stated, "our goal is for students to be in class with their professors as much as possible while at the same time adhering to all COVID safety requirements of the French government." The university is continuing to regulate class capacity and may decide to limit the number of students allowed on campus for certain classes. For now, students await further announcements.