The Undeniable Impact of Living and Learning by 11:59 PM

Does the following scenario sound familiar? After working several hours, an exhausted student scrambles to work on an assignment. The student finds the amount of work is reasonable and runs into relatively few technical problems. With a sigh of relief, they successfully submit their work before 11:59 PM. However, frustration arises when students run into technical issues on top of the demands of full-time work and full-time school.
This can mean barely enough time. Such situations often have a negative impact on student motivation and may even affect their confidence in their ability to achieve. “There’s a myth that online classes are easy,” says pre-nursing student, Cheryl Yeboah-Heuwald, as she explains her struggles adjusting to taking courses online. A friend confided in Heuwald that learning online has made her question how much she is getting out of her courses, and she wonders if her classmates feel the same.
Yeboah-Heuwald, like others, feels that surviving this semester has been a race to meet deadlines. Some feel their workload has doubled this past semester, making it difficult to stay caught up in class. Students may even get to a point where they no longer have the energy to play catch-up. Learning during COVID-19 has illustrated how feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and anxious can shrink student motivation.
As a third semester of COVID-19 continues, remote learning is part of our everyday lives. Students are facing challenges that go with learning at home. Long zoom meetings. Technical difficulties. Seemingly endless assignments and constant deadlines looming over your head. It’s 11:00 PM! Fifty-eight more minutes until that chemistry lab is due!
Century student, Kou Yang, a student majoring in Enterprise Computing Technology, admits that she has never felt comfortable asking for help. She explains that “before the pandemic, we would be given time toward the end of class to complete assignments. This gave me a chance to ask my peers questions that I didn’t necessarily want to ask the instructor.”
Due to Covid, important milestones cannot be experienced as students may have imagined. Non-traditional students, who are balancing work and caring for family must quickly learn to adapt to a new model of learning. Life can quickly become overwhelming, thus throwing some students off balance, as they frantically work to meet course deadlines.
Most students at Century College have expressed their appreciation for instructors who have been supportive and timely in responding to their queries. While this has made adapting to online instruction easier, another problem remains. Some students feel isolated from peers and learning communities. Many miss how social interactions provided a boost that helped them complete challenging course assignments.
Other students feel they can take on more credits while learning from home, only to find themselves overtaxed by the amount of work they are expected to produce. Individual learning styles can impact how students are responding to online instruction. Some students have pre-COVID-19 experience with online learning while others are just learning to manage the technology necessary to complete assignments.
Some students have enjoyed the convenience that comes with taking courses online. A Century student, Catherine Gnali especially appreciates pressing the replay button if she needs a point repeated by her instructor. “Online learning means everything is at my fingertips,” Gnali says.
Students at Century College are finding creative ways to cope with a new world of learning dictated by the now familiar deadline of 11:59 PM. Some are viewing this moment in our global history as the perfect time to acquire new skills and become more independent learners. No matter which path students take, distance learning is here to stay.
What has your experience been like with online learning this semester? What coping strategies have you tried or discovered as you work to become a more proficient online learner? We would appreciate your thoughts. Please send your insight to The Century Times.