Today is my final shout out to my daughter’s French and Math professors. Nothing cute or memorable, unless you count showing up, teaching to the best of their ability and trying to engage their students memorable. And for having office hours, pretty much whenever the kids needed them.

But as the Math professor said, please turn on your cameras because that is the only way I can see if you are getting what I am giving you. Because teachers need to see their students.

So even though I have extolled how well the professors at my daughter’s university handled this, how her classmates handled this…

Online learning can not become the norm…

I just got a text from a friend who has a college senior. While trying to take a VERY IMPORTANT EXAM her power went down twice and she lost internet.

Even middle class people who live in the suburbs can have issues like this- imagine the kids that have lesser power and internet capabilities…

My daughter’s math teacher was upset after a quiz because he had no idea the kids were struggling with a concept he had taught because he couldn’t see the look of confusion that he would normally see. Sure, one kid had a 96 on the quiz, but another had a 47, with the average being a 70. This was not the case when the kids were in the classroom.

French is a class where they are preparing the kids to be proficient in a language. Proficient means being able to speak- kids speaking during class became somewhat of a struggle because the internet is not always your friend…

Besides that…

College kids need libraries. College kids need labs and lab equipment. Mentors. Internships. Research projects. Clubs. Sports. Volunteer positions. The ability to be student leaders, or student athletes, or whatever.

College kids need the time to figure out who they are.

College kids need to expand their environment.

What happens if people never meet others who are not like them?

Education is not just learning a subject. It is not answering test questions and writing a five part essay. It is not what is inside the four walls of a classroom…

Education is exposing yourself to things you would otherwise never know.

And while my daughter did well, many kids did not do well in this environment. Many schools did not teach in quite the same way that my daughters did. To many kids, this was a lost semester.

Online learning is just not going to cut it for most students.

53 thoughts on “Zehn- Math, French et al

  1. I have not engaged in online learning, but I agree with everything you have said. As a retired teacher, I can vouch for the importance of interaction between teacher and student and students with each other. I needed to see what they were doing and thinking, and for younger students dispense hugs as needed. I think when you reach the master’s degree level, online learning is more useful, allowing adults to learn while being employed. They are past the need for the clubs and activities, but for undergraduates it provides time to mature and develop many of the characteristics and skills that are so necessary in life, but can not be tested. Kudos to all teachers out there doing their best. Kudos to any administrator who realizes that there is more to education than computer interaction. I fear that in our rush to be prepared for a future calamity some will want to make this the norm rather than the backup.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s my worry. I’ve read blogs saying we undervalue online learning for high school and college and I fear people will think that online is equal or better to in class learning. We need to tread carefully

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I echo what everyone else has said. You’ve done a great job of articulating why elearning is/can be fine/adequate when face-to-face is not possible, but it can’t replace the full scope of an on-campus or in-school experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And what about the costs? I read that some parents were going to sue the schools. I know that if this had happened when our daughter was in freshman or sophomore year we certainly would have wanted our money back at least for the cost of the dorms and food. It’s like sending texts, you don’t get the tone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We got money back for room and board, but as my daughter is getting the credits I don’t think it’s fair to get money back in that. That being said, I won’t be sending next semesters tuition payment any time soon….

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I completely agree. Holds true for both my high school senior and college senior. From what my daughter says some of her professors were not prepared. And as you note, not everyone has consistent internet access. I feel like it will hurt those who are disadvantaged the most.

    I am a nurse, who became a nurse before online learning. I am opposed to many of the mostly online nursing programs that exist, because those programs should have lots of in person discussion. As well as an instructor who has her eye on who is struggling in ways that you might not note in an online learning environment.

    I’ve been hearing rumblings that the state university my youngest will attend is thinking about having online learning only for the fall related to COVID-19 concerns. I can’t see it in any way being worth the price. This would be his first semester.

    Back in the day we were allowed to take small amount of “correspondence” classes. I took one class that way. I have no problem with online only classes being a small portion of the learning experience–but not the whole thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. In an ideal world, I completely agree that attendance on campus is a very important part of the whole experience. But in the current circumstances, it’s just not an option – something I’m afraid we will all have to accept until a vaccine is available. I don’t see any other way of “returning to normal” for it’s not possible for educators (or employers) to guarantee safety, and there are plenty who will be quick to sue should anything go wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The problem is we think we can guarantee safety. That’s impossible. To hold off the world for two years is suicidal. People will not survive that. I can’t tell you how many people might die. I can tell you that the estates of child abuse and domestic abuse have gone up. Add that to depression. Substance abuse. Our immune systems being compromised because we’re not building immunity. Lack of exercise. Lack of stimulation. Lack of socialization. Inability to protect ourselves from other things in a world where mammograms and biopsies are considered non essential. We’re not living now. We’re taking breaths. There is no happy ending to this. Anarchy will happen. Sooner rather than later. It’s going to be survival of the fittest one way or another.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. I agree there’s a tipping point, I just don’t think it’s this summer or this September. I believe there is a decent chance of a vaccine by the year end. My feeling is there are higher priorities than education being carried out in the ideal conditions – for example, life saving things such as medical treatment & screening. A well rounded education is important, but it’s not life saving. It’s absence may be life changing, but education can be delayed … finding or treating cancer cannot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the us, because of FDA, it will be at least 18 months before we have a vaccine. You can’t have healthy people self quarantined for 18 months. And what if the virus mutates….mental health is already teetering…I see it in blogs…right now people are starting to feel hopeless.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In terms of the FDA, they could decide to accelerate their processes in light of the current circumstances. As to long-term lock-down, clearly there would be problems – be they economic or mental health related. But a blanket return to the old way of living is likely to trigger a second wave of infection, and deaths will follow. While I get the concept of herd immunity & the strongest surviving, I’m not ready to sacrifice either myself or anyone I love to that … unless there really is no other option. So I’d hope we’d at least try to find a compromise – a middle way if you like – because I don’t believe it’s OK for there to be a mass ruling made with regard to quality of life choices – surely that type of decision should remain with the individual? I agree with you that it’s wrong to rat on a neighbour sitting on a bench eating a burger, but I also believe it’s equally wrong that anyone should be forced into a workplace they consider unsafe when there is a virtual option available – and the same applies to education.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I wrote about fast tracking the vaccine when this started. There is much very vocal opposition to fast tracking the vaccine. Add that to people who don’t vaccinate for anything no matter what. Then…you have anti body theories. There are tons of “experts” that claim even if you have antibodies, you may not be resistant to the virus, which really means, a vaccine with the antibodies probably won’t work. No one really knows anything, and I see contradictory “evidence” every day. I don’t know what’s right or wrong, but I do know that people will not last much longer as things are now

        Liked by 2 people

    2. It just isn’t students who would be affected though. I live in a college town. Our economy would be greatly affected if we shut down campus for the fall semester. It seems like you would be creating a bottleneck for the freshman class that would start in 2021–kids from the fall 2020 semester would be behind and that would affect them.
      I’m a nurse and I am all for vaccines. It would be nice to think a vaccine would be right around the corner—-but who knows. I can’t see holding off returning to normal life forever.
      Plus there are already people out there who say they will refuse to take a not yet in existence COVID-19 vaccine.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t know what will come of this sudden extensive push toward online learning. Like so many changes foisted on us by this pandemic we’ll all have to wait and see. I liked living on campus, going to classes. In my experience learning takes place best when you’re somewhere intent on learning.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Adding to your theme of ‘college students need libraries, college kids need labs’ . . . college kids need to NOT LIVE WITH THEIR PARENTS! I have 6 kids – oldest 2 in college. We are really struggling with the oldest one at the moment, so I thought I would throw in my 2 cents. Long story, but space is not allowing us enough breathing room at the moment and we are walking on eggshells. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh….I totally get you, but in my case it’s also my husband working from home, but that’s another story😉 I plan on opening my daughters college in august, so there’s that….


  9. I would not hesitate to say that growing up in the city that your daughter has been exposed to a wide variety of people. It is the people from the rural areas that need the diversity and the interaction and will thrive as others when placed on a campus once again, if not more than the city dwellers because it is all new to them. Soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My only online learning experience with Zoom was the Wiki Edu class I took last year. It left much to be desired, but it was satisfactory for the function it was meant to serve.

    College is a whole ‘nuther thang. It’s about learning in the real world. Dealing with different kinds of people with different backgrounds. I would not pay for online learning of the sort that is going on now just because of Coronavirus. I would ask the student what sort of project they would find meaningful that requires research, writing, maybe volunteering in some safe manner, and facilitate that. Lectures and textbooks – to heck with it. Exams? Perish the thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s all surreal. I’m pleased that my daughter had professors that really tried to make it a worthwhile experience….but get them back to school

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I would also like to add that many professors and teachers do not know HOW to teach online. What your daughter and many people have experienced is not true online or virtual learning; it has been educators taking their content and offering it online. The two are not the same.

    I also agree that it’s not for everyone, but I just wanted to add this part.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I completely relate to this post! I have been taking classes for French and now it has switched to online classes which isn’t the most effective way of learning a language. The internet plays truant, sometimes the conversations sound like a group of zombies speaking! Ah well, new normal.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It has been an interesting experience, that’s for sure. My kids’ teachers, for the most part still did some teaching, though there was a mandate from somewhere up the food chain to not teach anything new, which I really didn’t understand at all. Especially those higher level classes like the AP or Dual Credit that both my kids were taking. Thankfully, the “nothing new” rule didn’t apply to those classes, which made my kids happy.

    At first I was confused when teachers didn’t work within their normal class times through the day. Then, one teacher sent an email and mentioned the fact that one of their students could not participate in meetings because they were responsible for caring for their siblings during the day, but they were still able to put in the work assigned. It was something that hadn’t occurred to me, that because of the lack of regular child care and parents that still had to leave to go to work, it would make it nearly impossible for that student to maintain a normal school schedule. I had already worried about students that wouldn’t even have internet access, but there were also so many levels in between that I hadn’t thought about.

    I now understand the why behind the “nothing new” rule as enough students simply wouldn’t even be able to get access or participate, they needed to still do what they could to provide an equal level of education. It still will make it extremely difficult for students next year, especially if they needed to learn material to take higher level courses later.

    This is all from a district that was able to do the remainder of their year online. My son’s GF that lives in another state not only didn’t really have any kind of classes at all, they ended the school year early instead. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult things are going to be fore these kids moving forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My sister is a teacher, with 19 kids in her class. She’s putting lessons online, but says often the program doesn’t work properly and she has no idea how to fix it. She also says that on any given day, only 11 or 12 kids actually complete their assignments.
    And no, we can’t live like this for another 18 months. I’m just amazed that anyone thinks we can, but some people seem to want to do just that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t believe people actually think this should go on that long….that we’re being shamed for wanting to try to get back to some semblance of order and routine…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t either! It’s as if it’s okay for people to go broke, die of suicide from depression and drug overdoses, and especially from not being able to get treated for any other medical issue, just as long as they don’t die of Covid-19. Who decided that was moral or right? And there’s no guarantee there will EVER be a vaccine. Where did people come up with the magical 18 months number? It’s no wonder people are frustrated and acting out, and that’s only going to get worse, I’m afraid.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know! 18 months is a maybe….a statistical maybe based on past vaccines! I don’t understand the rationale at all…..meanwhile…we’ll all get sick in the process….


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