Online learning challenges students, instructors alike

OCC students and faculty have been learning online only since mid-March and it is likely to continue into 2021.

Since March, Orange Coast College and other institutions around the country have transitioned classes online. For many students, this is their first year of college and they will not be experiencing it in person. For others, this is a continuation of the spring and summer semester.

Jason Cruz, a second-year psychology major, online classes have been difficult for him.

"Online classes feel harder since there is not that in person communication," Cruz said. "Not to mention the internet issues that most students and even teachers may have."

Destiny Salgado, a first-year marine biology major, agrees that the internet is her biggest struggle. 

"Sometimes it's the Wi-Fi or the professors would glitch," Salgado said. "Especially since I don't have Wi-Fi, I use my mobile data." 

"In-person classes made it easier to talk to teachers and other students and have access to the necessary resources I need." Cruz adds.

It's not all bad though. Cruz and Salgado agree the biggest perk is being able to be home and sleep in.

"As someone who stays up to complete school work and works two jobs to support myself and give additional support to my family, getting that extra sleep helps," Cruz said.

"It really helps me save money and stress on transportation, whether it's the bus or my mom taking me," Salgado voices.

The challenges of students are felt by the professors as well. Teaching online has been a learning curve.

"Some challenges I’ve faced are related to teaching a class that focuses on face-to-face communication online," Courtney Anderson, a public speaking professor at OCC, said. "It’s difficult to create the same classroom climate when we aren’t all in the same room." 

Anderson said the research, outlining, writing and presenting of speeches has been challenging and exciting. 

"Recording practice videos and submitting them online isn’t easy for a lot of students." Anderson said. "It is also challenging to teach and critique them on body language from so far away."

"I think this is a really exciting time to be both a teacher and a student. It’s hard to compare in-person and online classes," Anderson said. "We took a lot for granted when we were on-campus."

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