Frustrations grow as online schooling continues

The word “frustration” might best express how most members of the PNW community feel about the semester so far.

As PNW continues to find ways to teach during the COVID-19 pandemic, students who have in-person classes said they feel anxious over social distancing protocols in their lecture halls and others whose classes are online struggle to focus through their Zoom classes.

Some students are confused by the structure of their virtual classes.

“All of my classes are online,” said freshman Chris Pena. “As a first-year college student, I am having to adjust and learn the ins-and-outs on my own.”

Others miss the social interaction.

“The campus is a ghost town,” said senior Carlos Naranjo. “The bustling university atmosphere is gone now that the majority of students are all online.”

Many are just irritated by distance learning and new technology:

“I have had to deal with electronic disasters already,” said senior Nathan Marciniec. “My professors are struggling to adjust to an online platform like Zoom, and at the same time, we are all learning Brightspace.”

The frustration is not limited to students.

“I am only teaching two courses, both Fundamentals of Speech Communication, face-to-face this year,” said Rhon Teruelle, associate professor of mass communication. “In the classrooms, hand sanitizer is everywhere, there is a plexiglass shield on my desk, lectures are styled in larger rooms, and all students must be socially distanced.

“While PNW has done well with managing all of the changes, it is not sustainable,” he said. “Remote teaching faces future difficulties in directing students to focus on the learning materials, and the overall way we teach our students.”

Students agree that the current situation cannot become a “new normal” for PNW.

“It is difficult because online classes are an entire different environment than face-to-face,” said Pena. “I am not as willing to focus as much during a Zoom call when I know I can reference my textbook during my quizzes now.”

Even though PNW and universities nationwide embraced online classes to protect students and their families from COVID-19, Naranjo said he feels they only compound his stress. 

“I am constantly thinking of all the protocols I need to follow correctly, while balancing my time with the workload of my online classes,” he said. “I almost feel more stressed than last semester.”