By Ashton Osborne
As of March 24, the state of Michigan has been placed under a stay at home order. That means many colleges throughout the state of Michigan have transitioned to online learning.
For college students, the impact on their course work has varied quite a bit. Depending on your field of study, the switch to online learning has little to no impact. For example, an insurance or math major would have an easier time adjusting to online classes than, say, an art major who has to have the supplies and resources for their different studio classes, which are not readily available to them at home. The switch to online learning is not an ideal situation, but it’s better than the alternative of risking someone getting sick or canceling classes all together. It is absolutely better to be safe than sorry in this situation. However, for students with a more liberal arts focus or with hands on classes, that transition is pretty rough.
For me, a journalism and mass communication major, I have had a lot of adaptation over the last couple of weeks. Out of my seven classes, only one class remained unaffected for the most part in terms of being able to do the original course work. That’s six classes have an extra curve ball thrown into them now. Classes like photojournalism, which involves going out and covering events, or working with the radio station have required me to get creative in how I produce content. No one involved with WOCR 89.1 is able to broadcast live from the station, so DJs are taking to making podcasts, videos, and blogs so that the station is still producing content. While students are still getting experience with radio, they don’t get the on-air experience that is so valuable to them. In addition to having to adapt classes, I’ve had three classes get pretty much canceled due to the nature of situation. You can’t create ceramics or rehearse a wind ensemble over video call in hopes that a student can figure out the stuff they’re having issues with. The online classes are necessary to make sure that everyone stays well, but that doesn’t mean that students aren’t frustrated by the increased challenges that online learning come with. Students at home right now aren’t on vacation. They still have a full course load right now and to add to the stress that already comes with that, students now have to deal with receiving less guidance to actually succeed in their classes.
On the bright side, I am getting to spend time with the friends that I am quarantining with that I do not usually get. We’ve gotten very creative with entertaining ourselves, from walks to games to learning how to bake a cake from scratch. I’ve been trying to look for the good in the situation to keep spirits up.