Courtesy of Christin Hume
One of the most significant changes for HCC students due to COVID-19 has been the change from face-to-face classes to having everything online.
A few of the students in a math class that was supposed to be in the classroom on the Plant City campus were asked about the transition.
They all represent students at different stages in life; some are parents, some work full-time and some were just in high school last year.
Although the math class has online components where students do their homework on a website, the class was still supposed to be in person with an instructor to lecture and answer questions in real-time.
Only one of the students answering questions was already taking online classes before the school shut down. Some have never taken any kind of online course before.
While most of the students said the changes in class format had not caused a lot of hardships, it has disrupted their schedules and approach to homework. Some have found the material more confusing without the ability to ask questions in class or during regular office hours. Others have experienced even more difficulty.
Leilani Rivera Martinez says she has not done well since the transition. “I have set aside my school work and lost motivation and effort to do my assignments. I leave them for the last minute, turn them in late or not do them at all. I want to improve my grades and manage my time better, but the transition has made more of a negative impact on me than positive.”
Ashley Brown’s difficulties have more to do with her family. “I am a single mom, and I have to home school my kids. We only have one laptop, so they are using it most of the day, and when I get to my work, I am almost overly exhausted.”
Students also do not like the difference between online and face-to-face classes. They say they miss the one-on-one experience with teachers. Teachers’ explanations are not always as clear online. Students also feel there is more work now that they have to figure out some things for themselves.
Some of the teachers have been helping the students cope. Some have moved assignments around, so everything is not due at the same time. Others have made themselves available more than usual. The math teacher put lectures online so students could watch what they would typically see in class. The students can pause, rewind and re-watch the videos.
These students have some advice for people considering online classes.
Christa Pickens says online classes are not for students who procrastinate or take on a lot of responsibility themselves.
Caitlyn Hudon feels the same way, saying, “You have to be willing to teach and motivate yourself.”
“I highly recommend the face-to-face classes instead of the online classes because the face- to- face classes come with less stress,” says Cheyenne Smith.”
The transition has had some advantages for students. They say they enjoy not having to go to school so early in the morning, driving in heavy traffic and having more time to spend at home with family. The work is now more convenient as long as the students stay caught up.
These students all offer hope and encouragement to everyone at HCC. Many say that the HCC community will get through all of this, and some thank their teachers.
Mariah Johnson knows how hard this is for faculty when she says, “I would like to say thank you to the teachers for what they are doing. If it’s not easy for me to have four online classes, I know it’s not easy for them to have 400 online students.”