by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Megan Zogby writes for the Martin Center about the University of North Carolina’s coronavirus-inspired transition to online education.
As a sophomore at North Carolina State University, I’ve experienced the online transition since classes resumed on March 23.
NC State has relied on Zoom, a video-chat program, for professors to continue lectures. Some tests are being proctored online by using a computer lockdown system that records students as they take tests. The tests will be available on Moodle, a program the university already uses to host class websites. Online proctors also watch students take tests to ensure students don’t cheat.
Though all classes have moved online, students won’t get tuition refunds. Partial refunds will be made for housing and meal plan expenses. The university has been transparent in this hectic time, but students still have some concerns and face real hardships in the coming weeks. …
… [S]tudents aren’t the only ones who think online classes aren’t as good as in-person classes. As a freshman, my advisor warned me to be cautious when taking an online class. She said they are more challenging because students don’t meet face-to-face and the workload is usually larger.
So far with online classes, the workload seems more like busywork. My assignments have stressed my learning process and shifted my focus from absorbing information to finishing and submitting the many online assignments. Pre-recorded lectures are posted on teachers’ websites and those are, in my opinion, the hardest to learn from. At least with live Zoom lectures, students can interact with professors. A pre-recorded forty-minute lecture, however, has no breaks for questions. It’s also harder to focus and process the information.
Some subjects have been much harder to transition to online classes, too. I’m a Spanish minor and, luckily, my professor has run online classes before, so she had a ready-made plan. Not all professors and students have had a smooth transition, though.