Opinion

STAFF EDITORIAL: We Have to Make the Most of Online Classes

Zack Miller | The Phoenix

Like students across the country, our world was turned upside down when Loyola announced March 12 it would be moving classes online. Students were given a week to get out of residence halls amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and classes are set to start in full force March 23.

Is it the ideal situation? Not by any stretch of the imagination. But we have to make the most of it — and that means taking our classes even more seriously.

Early in the semester, The Phoenix Editorial Board wrote an editorial about how online classes aren’t as effective. In that editorial, we referenced an article from the Brookings Institution which said students who aren’t prepared for class are more likely to drop out after taking online classes.

“Online courses can improve access, yet they also are challenging, especially for the least well-prepared students,” the article reads. “These students consistently perform worse in an online setting than they do in face-to-face classrooms; taking online courses increases their likelihood of dropping out and otherwise impedes progress through college.”

It’s easy to quit paying attention to online classes during Zoom calls. How many times have students turned off the camera and completely tuned out of their class? With all classes shifting online now, students need to buckle down and pay attention instead of just going through the motions after these unexpected hurdles.

While we weren’t thrilled about online classes, we don’t have any choice but to buy into it now. Given the circumstances, it’s our only shot at an education for the rest of the semester.

This isn’t an extended summer vacation — and we need to treat it that way.

This is especially true for the seniors, who were so close to graduation when everything changed. This is the point in the semester where senioritis really sets in because it’s so close to graduation, yet there’s still so much to do to finish those last few credit hours. Even though classes are online, the seniors — and everyone, for that matter — need to push through these last few weeks to make the most of the limited time they have left.

Everything is crazy and unpredictable. Look how much has changed just in the last week. But we, as students, still need to stay locked in on school and getting through these last couple months. Also, it’s something to do without watching sports on TV, going to the movies or eating at a restaurant.

Focus. That’s the key.

That said, it’s not all on the students to make this a smooth transition. Professors have to do their part, as well.

Although they might be used to the traditional classroom setting, it’s imperative professors ease into online classes. That might be tough for some professors who aren’t as tech-savvy as they should be, but given the nature of the situation, they need to make sure students understand what they’re supposed to do while also keeping them engaged during the online sessions.

We understand there will be some bumps in the road getting started, especially if professors have never taught an online class before. But for the students’ sake, the transition has to be as smooth as possible — even if it’s a little rocky to start.

It’s obvious there’s much more going on in all of our lives than there was a mere week ago. Our thoughts are cluttered with coronavirus-induced anxieties, worries for our loved ones, thoughts of adjusting to life of social distancing — at least for the coming weeks. 

For seniors, this is the last stretch of your higher education careers, unless you’re moving on to graduate school. You might not get to experience all the celebratory, college-end activities with the rest of your graduating class, but that doesn’t mean the value of your education diminishes in the blink of an eye. It’s a bummer that those things might disappear, of course. That doesn’t mean you haven’t had a college career to celebrate and be proud of — you’ll just have to get creative with it.

This is a situation we’ve never seen before. In order for it to work, we all have to do our part, whether we’re the ones leading the online sessions or the ones paying attention to them.

There are five weeks left before finals. Now is the time to buckle down.

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