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Covid-19 has taken its toll on various things. Since the world got shut down in March 2020, many things haven’t gone back to normal. No more 24/7 Walmart. Many current college students were in high school when the pandemic started. Now, they’re taking on college.
How has the virus that took the world by storm left its mark on the classroom?
Kim Newberry, a sociology professor at Hutchinson Community College, said she believes that the students haven’t changed much at all.
“Truly, the only major change in all my years is the love of technology,” Newberry said.
In order to adjust to the technology surge, she has had to be more strict with her phone policies to keep her classes engaged.
Newberry does not blame Covid for the change and says each class has a different dynamic depending on class time and the mixture of students.
Chemistry professor Jennifer Wiens also made the observation that students are more attached to their phones. She noticed it prior to the pandemic calling it a sign of the times and has seen an increase in interest since. Interactions among students don’t happen often unless she instructs them to talk to one another.
Other negative side effects of Covid she has seen is students not understanding the importance of showing up to class. Students have begun to rely on professors to provide extra accommodations when they do not attend. Things like recorded lectures and extra credit assignments appear to have become expectations from students.
On the other hand, Covid-19 introduced many students to online classes. While enrolling in classes, students can decide what type of learning works best for them. They also understand that with online classes comes self-discipline.
“The one major aspect that I think we will be fighting for years, is the “gap” in learning that we see from students due to online/remote learning during Covid. There are certain things that just don’t lend themselves to being taught online,” Wiens said.
She gives the example of using a microscope, which is a skill often taught in high school biology classes. Current college students may have missed out on the hands-on experience due to Covid and professors are having to spend more time teaching them how to use them.
Professors have had to adjust their schedule for their classes to teach topics causing time to run short on the things they had on the original agenda.
Kelly Clasen, an English professor, has a contrasting experience with students seeming more willing to be in class since Covid-19, especially in 2021.
“Students who did not thrive in that online environment seemed especially grateful for the opportunity to attend in-person classes and rarely missed class,” Clasen said.
However, she also noticed the increase in demand for content to be provided online as well as in person.
It is safe to say that students and teachers are still experiencing the aftermath of the pandemic.
“Students are still processing this trauma in their writing, and I fully expect to see Covid-themed papers come in for a few more years,” Clasen said.