The lack of face-to-face modes of instruction raises concerns about how students will succeed academically.
Karen Escalante, an assistant professor for teacher education and foundation at CSUSB, states that the virtual learning environment is different from what she is used to.
“There are things that we’re not able to do because we’re not face-to-face, but there are things that we are now able to do in this virtual space that we couldn’t if we were face-to-face,” said Escalante. Because of the virtual environment, instructors are now able to invite guest speakers from afar in their classes via Zoom, which wasn’t an opportunity they had before.
Maria Medina is an algebra teacher at South Gate High School who has been teaching for 20 years. She believes students are missing out on their education due to the transition from in-person to virtual learning.
“I know I’m doing the best I can in my class so they can still learn as much as they would learn in a regular classroom, but I have heard students say ‘my teacher doesn’t meet up with me for this subject,’” Maria says.
Denise Medina, a student from Cal State Domingez Hills is also struggling with online learning. “There are professors that actually provide you with so many documents and recorded lectures and there are few professors that are just like ‘okay this is the week’s homework, you do it on your own,'” says Denise.
Denise states that she’s a visual learner, so having work just thrown at her without being taught how to do it is very hard on her.
“I feel it really depends on the teacher,” says Emily Perez, a junior from El Rancho High School. She discusses how there are certain classes that she knows she’s gaining knowledge from, but there are others that she hasn’t learned much in.
Perez states that there are some teachers that don’t hold virtual classroom meetings so they just post the work online and let the students figure it out for themselves.
Escalante argues that asynchronous classes are ineffective. Her personal belief is that engaging students in synchronous learning is the most effective because students and teachers are able to build relationships with one another in real-time.
“I do hope faculty will take a long hard look at offering synchronous classes to allow opportunities to build those relationships,” says Escalante.
Sofia Monroy, a second-grader at Rio Vista Elementary school explains she struggles with virtual learning. “Sometimes I learn less because sometimes I get distracted,” says Monroy. She states that it’s tough trying to pay attention and she also sees her classmates playing with toys during class time.
Perez also states that she has trouble focusing while she’s doing work. “I would rather have a teacher in front of me showing me how to do the work because I just can’t focus when it’s on a laptop screen,” says Perez.
Olivia Gastalum, a fifth-grader from Mill Elementary school, can also relate to the struggles of online learning. “I feel like I’m not really learning much, it’s more of just review of stuff we already know,” says Gastalum. On top of that, Gastalum states that wifi connection problems and the process of logging in are a hassle.
Maria recalls when she had a problem with her wifi stating, “I was teaching and my daughter was upstairs in class and at the same time; we both got kicked out of Zoom.” She could only imagine what her students and other teachers have to deal with.
“Patience and communication are the main things that the teachers who are actually doing a good job with this whole online learning have, and that helps a lot,” Perez states.