Findlay freshmen adapting to new learning styles

University freshmen and professor share their views on hybrid and remote learning.

By Kayla Canterbury

            University of Findlay freshmen have been thrown into the world of hybrid and remote learning for their first semester of college this fall. These styles of learning may present some difficulties for both the students and staff at the university.

            Entering college, students can establish relationships through face-to-face meetings with their professors and be in the classroom for their courses. However, that was not the case for the 2020 freshmen due to the ongoing pandemic. Classes they expected to have in person were moved to hybrid learning or fully online classes. Transitioning to the college lifestyle can already be challenging for some, but learning outside of classroom setting only adds to the obstacles one has during their freshman year.

            “My full online class has been a struggle just because I’m doing everything on my own,” freshman Drew Ballantyne said. “Other than that everything has been fluent and smooth.”

            With technology, there often comes struggles. Freshman Rachel Crum is taking a chemistry course this semester. During one lecture, she was supposed to be on Zoom, but could not view the lecture because of the Zoom crash.

            “It didn’t work at all, so I missed the entire lecture and I have to make it up, so that’s just really inconvenient,” Crum said. She went on to explain that her professor was very understanding in the situation, which was nice for her because she was very stressed out.

For a freshman who may be feeling lost, their professors play an important role in their learning.

            “They hold office hours which is good because we can go in and get one-on-one conversation,” Ballantyne said. He stated that he was more comfortable reaching out to professors who have smaller class sizes and interact with students more than other professors who have larger class sizes.

Crum added that professors could introduce themselves more to make students feel like they know their professors.

            From a teaching standpoint, criminal justice professor Todd Beitzel also feels the difficulties. This semester, he is teaching seven courses which are all online. He stated that online classes are definitely more time consuming for him, as he has to design more assignments than he would in a regular class setting.

            “For me, the instructor, when we’re in the classroom it’s much easier for me to engage and see whether students are understanding what I’m trying to convey and if students are learning,” Beitzel said.

This semester, he is holding Zoom sessions every once in a while, but already saw the downside after a few days.

“What I noticed is 90% of the people had their cameras off,” Beitzel said. “If people aren’t willing to turn their cameras on, it’s harder to get to know people and connect faces with names.”

            Although turning cameras on in Zoom allows both professors and students to see each other and get to know each other, it does not compare to being in the classroom. Beitzel says it is hard to gage whether he still has his students’ attention when on Zoom, as compared to the classroom setting where it’s easier to monitor his students’ emotions. During Zoom sessions, students are free to get on their phones, do other homework, or do other things on the computer and it is unlikely their professor will notice.

Organization will come with time, but Beitzel has some advice for any freshmen who find themselves in a constant battle.

            “What you learn and what you retain from any course that you take is really going to be up to how much effort you, the student, put into digging into that material and understanding the material,” Beitzel said.

And he says don’t be embarrassed to reach out and use campus resources for help. “There’s no shame in using the knowledge and advice that other people have,” Betizel said. “I would say if you’re a person who isn’t very self-disciplined, you really have to find a way to do that… If you’re struggling with technology or you’re not understanding assignments or information that’s being conveyed to you, do not hesitate to reach out right away.”

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