Our most meaningful takeaways from a year of remote learning


The most notable thing I’ve taken away from our first full year of online learning is the importance of accountability and connections. Now that we’re predominantly working alone, it’s so easy to fall straight into these little isolating habits—cameras off, mics muted, late assignments—and when there’s no one there to prompt you to get your shit done, the accountability falls on you. Never before has it been more important to stay organized and prepared, keep track of dates and make sure you’re setting yourself up for a successful semester at home. It’s important to keep making friends and connections. Online learning is no excuse not to socialize-if anything, it’s made it easier. Even though you’re the one person holding yourself accountable for your success, that doesn’t mean you have to go through all of this alone.

Jackson Carse  – Arts & Life Editor

The online learning setting has shown me how dependent we are on technology to work properly. I’ve witnessed countless technical difficulties during Zoom presentations due to unstable internet and instances where course material is no longer available online. If you don’t have high-speed internet-never mind a computer-you can’t complete post-secondary education in today’s world. How people coped without the internet a hundred years ago is beyond me, but I feel like we are trapping ourselves in the digital landscape. I think it’s great we have access to technology to keep ourselves moving during the pandemic, but when we start scrutinizing people’s work based on their lagging internet bandwidth or poor webcam quality, we need to draw a line. Technology is expensive and its behaviour can escape our control. So, if my internet crashes when I’m writing an online exam, we should all take a deep breath, figure out the problem, do our best to fix it and not be penalized for such errors.

Marina Black – Opinion Editor

By far the most meaningful thing that I’ve taken away from my first full year of online learning is the legitimate importance of doing readings for class. I often wondered in first year why I would feel so behind in some of my classes, and in my classes where I’ve been able to keep up with the required readings, that feeling has all but faded. It’s amazing how easy it is to succeed when you just follow all the instructions that you’ve been given and don’t take any shortcuts to get there. In short, taking shortcuts will often put you back farther than if you had taken the long way around in the first place.

Jacob Segal Rice – Staff Writer

I’m lucky to have largely been able to avoid the pressures of online learning, since I’ve only had to finish up a couple of classes this year. With that said, I’ve been astounded at how forgiving professors have been this year when it comes to assignments. The online teaching environment has required lots of professors to reject traditional forms of grading and assessment, and has forced them to become a lot more creative with how they deploy their content. I think a lot of students have probably benefited in some ways from the flexibility that remote teaching has afforded them, although I recognize that this isn’t the case for all. Still, I think there’s much to take away from professors having been required to give alternative methods of assessment a chance this year. So, if there’s one meaningful thing I’ve taken away from our first year of online learning, it’s that professors and students can both benefit from innovation when it comes to course content.

Alyssa Di Sabatino – Editor-in-Chief

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Serving the Waterloo campus, The Cord seeks to provide students with relevant, up to date stories. We’re always interested in having more volunteer writers, photographers and graphic designers.