Perspectives From a Year-long Remote Learner

Perspectives From a Year-long Remote Learner

Joseph Kester '23, Edsman Staffer

For the past 9 months (14 if you count my freshman year), I have been learning online at St. Eds. There was actually another article on remote learning in The Edsman in the Fall, but considering that writer was only online learning for a couple of weeks and I was and still am learning online, I think it’s safe to say that I should say a few things. To summarize, learning online is a lot like trying to run a marathon in clown shoes– nothing wrong with it but at times it can be much more difficult in some places, much easier in others, and depending on certain factors it can be frustrating and/or hilarious.

Now, as a warning, I am going to say that I don’t intend to say what they did wrong but rather saying what they did well because the stuff that went wrong is mostly not preventable. Some things that also will be highlighted in the rest of this article are basically what it’s like being online and some lingering Q & As to finish.

What have they done well?

The Coronavirus pandemic was something that came out of nowhere and nobody expected as well as nobody was prepared for. The first thing I thought they did well was setting this up quickly. Before St. Ed’s had a single case of Coronavirus we had decided to shut everything down. Now, knowing that they couldn’t come up with something within a day much less a weekend, Mr. McKenna had decided to give us a mini-break so the staff could come up with a solution. What they came up with after the 2-week long break was an online plan where students would join Google Meet sessions and the teachers would teach but teach online.

Personally, I think their choice to use Google Meets was a good idea especially since every student is issued a Chromebook, but Zoom or something similar would have probably been just as good. Overall, I think that what the administration did well in the early stages is how quickly they reacted and put something together.

The second thing I think they did well was for the next upcoming school year they would set up cameras in every classroom and switch everything over to the revamped PowerSchool. This choice was good because most of the teachers would put up their specific lessons on PowerSchool just in case. The setting up cameras in the room was a good choice as well because people who were online could see what was happening in class if it was visual and (this has happened) could see the shenanigans their classmates would get into during class like a sitcom.

What is it like?

Being online is an interesting experience. I start my day waking up in the morning to immediately eat breakfast then get on my Chromebook for online school. Now it is very important that you wake up early so you don’t miss any classes online and still have enough time to eat breakfast. I can’t count how many times I slept in and missed my first class.

For the classes part of being online, it honestly depends on the teacher for what it is like because classes are very different from teacher to teacher online. One teacher could choose not to pay attention to online students and therefore not teach us anything, another teacher could try to teach people online but because they don’t know enough about the technology they might accidentally mute their own mic or shut off their own camera. One teacher could be amazing at teaching online, in which case the classes would be basically the same as you being there.

The lunch part is probably the most confusing part about online learning. When your third class ends you are supposed to go to advisory right? Wrong, you don’t do anything the entire period except to try and eat lunch within that time because there is barely enough time to do your homework strangely and because you are home and not in school, you didn’t make a lunch for yourself ahead of time. 

Lastly, there’s the homework portion of being online. This part is not very difficult I have been told. Personally, I didn’t have much homework online this year but it still was time-consuming for me. Doing homework online is pretty much the same as doing it in person when you get home after school except you may have extra time and get it done quicker. I don’t get it done quicker but that’s more of a procrastination problem on my part than anything else

Lingering Q and As

Q: Is being online like this for everyone?

A: Depends on you because if you learn better online or learn better by yourself then obviously your experience will be different.

Q: Why tell us this now? 

A: Mostly to introduce what it’s like learning online from the perspective of a person who has been learning online for over a year.

Q: If you could summarize this article in a small sentence, what would you say?

A: Learning remotely can be a pain for multiple reasons and you might actually learn better or worse online, but people who learn online almost every day might have a bit more trouble than other people.