The Trouble with Virtual Learning

Students at Florida Atlantic University officially have one week of remote learning under their belts. We wake up, roll over to our devices, and log on to Zoom or Webex for our live lectures barely awake but determined to learn one way or another. However, this drive is being stunted by incompetent profesors who are not doing their job properly. 

Now, let me be clear, the issue is not with the fact that we have to learn this way. We know it’s vital to our health to continue virtual learning. The issue is with the professors and their inability to adapt to the “new normal”. 

Accountability and organization has been one general complaint from the student body. “My biggest issue has been structure and the lack of organization when it comes to course material,” said Taneisha Graham. Before, if a student had a question about a topic or something wasn’t posted on canvas that should’ve been, they could simply raise their hand and ask. Now, they have to email the professor and then wait for them to respond, which many never do.  

Other complaints that students have is the camera requirement. Students who are learning from home have expressed that they are not comfortable showing their living conditions and are uneasy about it being recorded. Also, some students can’t afford or do not have a webcam and because of this, are losing classroom attendance points thus causing their grade to go down. 

A big problem for some students is the lack of understanding from professors. Many fail to realize that students are learning from home in the middle of a pandemic and are treating class as if it is just another day. “One issue that I’ve had is the lack of empathy from professors. I have one that talks for the entire two hours, no powerpoint or anything,” said one student. “He said he’s not changing his teaching style because that’s how he’s taught for years.” 

Another student had the same feelings, “I think the professors are not as understanding. They load us with work and we are basically teaching ourselves the material. Also, ever since we have gotten back on campus the WiFi sucks,” said Latoria Brown. 

I sympathize with these issues because I’ve experienced them myself. This past week in my Intro to Philosophy course with Simon Glynn my class of over 100 people collectively sighed as Professor Glynn refused to listen to our concerns. His camera wasn’t working, his connection was bad so his audio was cutting in and out, and to make matters worse he blamed the chinese for the internet not working because they have 5G. Allow me to elaborate.

Students in class with Simon Glynn. Everyone’s camera is working except for his.
Simon Glynn

Out of all of the 113 cameras that were tuned in to class, Simon Glynn’s was the only one that wasn’t working. Yet, he said that it was our fault that we couldn’t see him and he later said that we were just saying that we couldn’t see him to “waste time in class”. He then proceeded to teach from a white board that none of us could see. When one student asked how she was supposed to be able to learn from a blank screen, he said “You sit there and figure it out”. We even asked him if he would try switching over to Zoom but he refused. Myself and about eight other students have since dropped his class because it is clear that he is not open to change. 

Students expressing concern and offering up solutions.

Simon Glynn teaching on a white board that no one can see.

FAU needs to realize that we are not complaining just to complain or trying to get out of doing the work. We know hard work is a part of college and we know every class has its own set of challenges. Our problem is that professors are using the pandemic and virtual learning as an excuse to be lazy on the job. Not making PowerPoints, not communicating information effectively, and not exhausting every avenue when having technical issues, is failure on the professors part. We all pay a lot to be here and have had to completely alter how we learn, study, hang out, etc. so the least the professors can do is adapt as well. Put simply, we are paying, not begging professors to do their job effectively. 

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