KEYSER - When West Virginia University and other institutions around the United States announced that they were suspending in-person classes after spring break due to the coronavirus crisis, many students didn't know what to expect.
By Barbara High
Tribune Staff Writer
KEYSER - When West Virginia University and other institutions around the United States announced that they were suspending in-person classes after spring break due to the coronavirus crisis, many students didn’t know what to expect.
WVU announced it would move toward online classes or other alternatives at the conclusion of spring break. For some local students, they say that meant Zoom online meetings and little as far as direction, not to mention an entirely new set of obstacles to overcome.
In speaking with several students who continue to try to complete their semester work, they told the News Tribune the lack of good internet and teachers being unavailable to offer help or direction have been at the top of their list of concerns.
For Zoe Stergiades, first year student at Potomac State College, the better choice would have been to use midterm grades.
“Internet is so slow,” making it hard to work on assignments, she said.
Taylor Layton, another first-year student, says that her internet continues to be spotty and it slows down with as many people that are trying to use it in her household.
Hannah Decker, another freshman at PSC, is dealing with the same thing.
With many people now working from home and local schools closed as well, there are many people in a single household who are relying on the internet. Hannah’s mom works from home, and there are two others in the household trying to keep up with school work besides herself. She says the situation has been less than ideal.
Switching from classroom learning to online instruction has also been an issue for some students.Taylor says she finds it difficult to learn by herself without all the on-campus resources they had available.
“On campus we had the library, Student Union, Academic Success Center, and our professors,” she said. “Online instruction can be difficult. Some teachers do not provide enough notes, instructions, or academic resources.”
Taylor said some teachers do not seem to know how to use e-campus, the electronic message system, so there has been a lot of confusion with due dates and assignments.
Joel Romero, another PSC student, had a lot of the same concerns. “For some teachers, this is their first time trying to teach online and art has made some things quite difficult,” he said. For Joel, who has never taken an online class before, this time has been especially challenging. “It’s a first for me and I am struggling a bit,” he said.
Dhruv Patel, also a PSC student, said that he finds it hard to self learn certain topics online. He wishes professors would be a bit more lenient with any assignments that are messed up, because it’s new to a lot of them. With some confusion with directions, Joel says he wishes professors would realize it’s new to students as well as the instructors, and not all classes were meant to be online classes.
Zoe says she is discouraged because she feels some teachers are not offering much help at all. When students are confused on directions, or have questions on assignments, there is not always an answer.
“Some teachers have not been available to us at all during this time,” she said.
For many student with scholarships, this has them stressing their grades. To keep Promise and most other scholarships, a specific GPA is required along with a certain amount of credit hours. With many students struggling and having to drop some classes, this is a major cause of concern.
Students are also finding themselves missing campus life. Time with friends, and on-campus resources have been taken away and some students are struggling. Socializing on campus is a big part of college life. Decker says that being on campus is like “having a cheering section in your corner. Your group supports you and listens when you need to talk.
“We are there for each other to help one another with succeeding, and now that is gone,” she said.
What replaced it for many is fear and stress.
According to Layton, she is struggling with motivation.
She says being stressed and not being able to use college as a break has taken its toll on her.
“ I know many students who are emotionally unstable and struggling because of this epidemic,” she says. “I would have to say I’m ready to join that group.”
Stergiades agreed that her motivation has been lacking amid concerns for the epidemic.
“It has affected my concentration,” she said.