When lockdown started and everything seemed to shut down around us, I was a senior in high school. My final grades were what they were at midterm, except for one class that continued online. I had already taken two DMACC online classes, so I thought I was decently prepared for the online college experience.
As a DMACC freshman, it was my first time signing up for courses on my own, since in high school a counsellor usually assisted. I hadn’t ever done all of these things online, and I’m pretty sure I called an advisor at least five times, and emailed more than once. But somehow, I managed to sign up for all of the classes I wanted, without any timetable overlaps or issues.
Utilizing the technology of the modern day in school was usually prohibited, but now I have an excuse to be on my laptop for hours on end, typing up papers, writing articles, and even just attending classes. I’ve used Zoom and Skype before, so using a different form of video calling wasn’t new to me, although I do prefer not having my camera on for the entire class.
There are many different student perspectives on how everything has been changed because of COVID-19. Melody Kyle, a first year culinary student, has shared her experience so far.
“Well, when the internet actually works, it’s alright I guess,” she said. Melody didn’t have much prior experience with online classes, only having attended a few meetings online rather than class sessions. She said that if she didn’t have teachers to help guide her through the inner workings of online meetings and how to do things, she would be far worse off.
“Homework is almost easier… for me, I like doing stuff like that online,” she said. While this is not a widely shared opinion about schoolwork, I do share the sentiment.
“It’s also nice not lugging around 50 pounds of books,” she said.
The use of online textbooks has been almost a godsend. Even though they might be pricier, it’s less weight to carry around. She said that even if the online textbooks are easier to access, not having an internet connection has a greater impact. Students are not only unable to create and submit coursework, but the text isn’t available for physical assistance.
Melody’s experience is different from my own in that she does actually have an in-person class. They have taken safety precautions to the maximum to create a clean environment, nothing new for a culinary class that has to clean and sanitize everything already. Masks were obviously required, and everything was to be cleaned more thoroughly than before.
Melody said that she panicked a bit when thinking how a few of her classes would work out online, and when she discovered that one of them was still in-person, she thought of different ways that it could turn out. She was thankful that the chefs gathered the students and carefully explained in full how everything would work out. Even though it’s the same program, everything is different now.
“[The main hall of Ankeny campus] used to have couches and sofas set up everywhere and you could just hang out and wait until your class. Now there’s just a couple tables and they’re set so far apart with one chair each,” she said.
College is meant to be a new chapter in the life of a student, but due to COVID-19, it has felt like an uphill climb. Students just have to hope that it will only get better in the future.