Making Online Learning Less Lonely
What are we learning about online learning? It’s challenging. It can be lonely. We’re still learning how to make it better for everyone. Empathy has always been important in education, but now it is essential. Understanding what each other are going through and showing that support is how we can get through this together.
So let’s talk about how everyone is doing with this— a tale of many TikToks.
When professors were in the classrooms with you, they could quite literally read the room to gauge how students were doing. Now, it's a lot more difficult for them to know how their students are doing. Whether it be because cameras are off the whole time or because there just isn’t anything in place to check in on each other.
Sometimes just setting up safe ways for everyone to give a sense of how they're feeling that day can really help the prof and the students get more out of the class time.
The challenges that students face in the online environment are unmatched. Not just because of the different learning style, but also because of the world and circumstances beyond the classroom right now. We can’t forget, however, that professors are facing challenges as well. We all know the technology can be tricky sometimes, but sometimes there’s a different lack of connection that isn’t wifi related. When profs spend the whole class teaching to a bunch of blank screens, they feel disconnected and alone by the end. Staying connected and engaged throughout the lesson is the best way to get the most out of the course.
Sometimes this means turning your camera on for a bit, or being active in the chat throughout the lesson, or turning your mic on to ask a question or join the discussion. All of these things help us all feel less alone.
Right now, it feels like everyone really just wants to be seen- literally and figuratively. So how can we make this experience better for each other? It starts with this- actually talking about it. We can't expect each other to know how we're feeling or what we need to feel successful, if we don't share those things. That's not to say that we need to force each other to talk about our feelings all the time, but we should acknowledge that each class, each day, and each week we may feel different. On the good days, do your best to be engaged and active during class. It's okay if there are also bad days where showing up is all you can do.
Know that your profs want to help you succeed and are doing their best to show up for you each class, even when they're struggling too.
And finally, whether you're a student or a professor, always reach out to someone if you're struggling. It could be a classmate or a colleague. It could be a friend or a counselor. Seneca has support to help. You can find more info and resources here. We know online learning can be hard for everyone at times, but together we'll do the best we can.
We'll leave you with some fun moments because we all could use a smile and a laugh these days.