Conversation on Technology & College Education in 2020


NEGATIVES

Within this past decade alone, technology has increased its presence in the world. There are many differing opinions on the the rise of technology and the impacts it's having on our society. One of the greatest impacts that many researchers continue to study are the changes in how humans communicate with each other. Many, if not most, argue that the effects of technology have been more negative than positive.  With regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, the work-from-home mandate, and the University of Hawai'i's transition to online classes, it definitely brought distress to both students and staff. Many anticipated the coming of all online classes but didn't expect it to appear so soon. Some of the concerns with the transition to online classes include: grading, understanding content, class participation, technological skills, internet access, and most importantly work preference.  Many professors have been utilizing Zoom's platform to conduct their class but it appears that some are struggling to finish the semester because of lack of attendance, participation, and/or technological skill. It's one thing to teach in-class and another to teach online. Aside from content, professors now have to think about how to engage their class and make the information stick with little to no time of preparation.  Many students who left home to pursue their college education either in the mainland or abroad have come back because of the pandemic. Rather than getting the most out of their education (and tuition) they are back in the confines of their home. Even students who chose to stay home and go to the nearest university are struggling during this transition because of the lack of resources they have now that everything is conducted via technology. 

Students are calling this their "worst case of senioritis" because they are struggling to find the motivation to finish (as a matter of fact, start) their school work. With the extra time on their hands, students are becoming more consumed in the past-time activities like playing Animal Crossing or completing social media challenges. Many students find that they learn best in a classroom, not online, so this transition is taking a major toll on their work habits and mental health.  Social distancing seemed quite easy at first, but the longer we are a part from others, it seems that it is anything but that.


Work Desk by Megan Ramones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.



POSITIVES

We previously talked about a few of the negative thoughts regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the work-from-home mandate, and UH's transition to online classes for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester. In this page, we'll be talking about the positives, and there are quite a few more than most think.

For instance, ever since news about COVID-19 began to increase, UH president David Lassner along with the rest of UH faculty and staff took the initiative to start the transition before our own government. Knowing that this would be a major change in the everyday lives of the people, the leaders of the UH Community put the health and wellbeing of the community first. To ensure that everybody is informed and aware, UH has been quick and consistent with sending emails regarding COVID-19 related updates. Focused on student success, UH moved forward with confidence in the transition to online classes and have provided extra resources for both students and staff. In this case, it is evident that technology is being used with positive intent.

Regarding students' work ethic, this is a perfect time for students to practice self-discipline and their communication skills. Working remotely is a skill that most careers are going to require for their employees so in the long run, this will be beneficial. Being a full-time online student will ultimately teach students video chat etiquette, e-mail etiquette, and most importantly, time-management. It forces the student to truly take charge of their education and utilize the resources given to them.

Technology was made to help humans thrive. It was created to make lives easier. Despite being a period of social distancing because of COVID-19, technology is enabling communities to remain connected. It is allowing students to have access to education so that they don't fall behind in school and have to repeat another semester's worth full of work. Technology is preventing us from succumbing into despair. Technology is giving us hope. 

Nothing good ever comes easy. Education was never easy to begin with but rather than seeing the transition in a negative light, it would bring a lot more comfort and motivation if one were to focus on what can be learned in this process. This generation of college-students are definitely at an advantage, they just don't see it yet. Sometimes, all a person needs to do is adjust.

Here's 21 Study Tips for Online Classes Success

FINAL THOUGHTS

At first, I was overwhelmed by change to online classes. I was overwhelmed because just when I got into the groove of my school, work, and church routine, everything had to change again and I found myself in a funk for a couple days. I needed to reprioritize again and make necessary adjustments to my schedule. I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets frustrated but such things but you got to do what you got to do. At the same time, I also found it ironic that the semester I registered for LTEC 112: Technologies for Academic Success just so happened to be the semester where I would need it most too. But I remembered, life is just like that; you never know when things will change.

Despite the initial feelings of stress and anxiety, I'm grateful for the transition to online classes. It's been teaching me how to manage my time even better than before, as well as, forcing me to practice self-discipline. For example, I email my professors if I have any questions about content they've taught through Zoom, I create to-do list's every morning so that I would keep track of upcoming deadlines, and I update my calendars with reminders of anything and everything. 

Social distancing has made me realize how much I took going out for granted. Now that I'm home staring at a computer screen all day, it makes me miss driving to school and being in a classroom even if was for an hour or two. It makes me value human presence even more. I make sure to check in on my friends and classmates to see how they're doing. Thankfully, the technology we have today makes it easier to stay connected with others no matter the distance. Though I always say, nothing beats the real thing. 

For now, my goal is to get the most out of what we have now and to continue improving with the resources I have right now. 

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