While Laurier and other universities have finished their winter semester, elementary and high schools are still ‘in session’
From grocery shopping to entertainment, everyone is faced with the opportunity of adaptation; and thanks to recent innovations, we are adapting to virtual methods of communicating.
As students, our lives are largely affected by the changes made to study at a post-secondary institution. While their spring semester is virtually underway, Wilfrid Laurier University has announced that the majority of classes will be online come the fall term in September 2020.
But what does this really mean for students? How will I buy textbooks? Should I be moving back to Waterloo? How will clubs and extracurriculars engage students next fall? While these are all popular and valid questions, the simple answer is that we don’t know. While some suggest that Laurier’s announcement is “premature” and “vague,”the University of Waterloo has made a similar announcement but added that larger classes will be moved online.
On a separately related note, elementary and high schools have announced that their in-person schools will also be moved to online this coming fall. However, online studies may be beneficial for some since it shares elements of homeschooling.
First off, online classes and homeschooling are not identical. Online classes provide a prescribed syllabus that is followed by everyone in the same class; homeschooling, on the other hand, is a method of personalized learning specific to an individual.
While these types of schooling have their differences, they are similar in helping the individual structure their schedule to best fit themselves. You may still need to attend your online lectures at a specific time, but you are given the freedom to complete your homework at your convenience.
For example, a high school student may now choose to get up earlier and complete their homework before the afternoon because they work more productively during the morning.
While post-secondary students have had a taste of this during their in-person studies, the potential advantages of online learning can be promising for those who struggle with time management, organization and procrastination.
No matter what level you are at in your education,now is the time to learn what works best for you when it comes to studying. Do you work best during the mornings, afternoons, or nights? Do you prefer studying at a desk or in bed? Do you really need as much coffee as you typically drink?
Online classes also benefit commuters who are faced with the nightmare of finding a parking spot every day. Cutting down on commuting and fuel can help a student make better use of their time and save their money for other required expenses.
Post-secondary students are also questioning the price of tuition when classes are moved online. While students will be required to have access to technology and the internet, it makes sense for tuition costs to be lowered in order to afford these materials. However, when enrolling in an online course for Winter 2020, there was a thirty-two dollar Online Learning Administrative Fee attached to my tuition.
So, while it makes sense for tuition costs to be lowered, post-secondary students may not see this happen. Even though many students are out of work due to COVID-19, it will be a difficult situation if the university chooses to leave tuition costs untouched.
While many students have enrolled in a spring semester at Laurier, students are having increased anxiety about their fall semester. As someone who is entering their final year at Laurier, I, too am experiencing a new type of anxiety; however, we have to keep looking ahead and move forward.
While post-secondary is a unique experience, the purpose of your post-secondary education is to earn credentials and learn skills that will aid you in your personal and professional development down the road.
From attending lectures to graduation ceremonies, we are all missing out on our university experience— but this doesn’t mean it’s goodbye forever. The university experience, among all aspects of society, is enduring its own adaptation.
The skills we learn during this pandemic and throughout our university careers will stick with us far into the future. While COVID-19 may seem like a setback, it is also an opportunity for progress.