By Phuthego Precious Nthoke
With the introduction of COVID-19 and its variants, we did the only thing we could do, adapt. The concept of adapting is flawless on paper but very difficult to execute, we can manoeuvre through certain situations that occur in our personal lives, however we cannot seem to adapt in our academic lives.
This observation solely pertains to challenges experienced by first year students in the science department. Many courses had been offered online and to no surprise it had its fair share of challenges for the students in the science and technology field, ranging from technological problems to being able to comprehend the workload issued. During the 2021 academic year, many courses required to be conducted online but some exams were to be written on campus and practicals had to be performed in the school laboratories.
I had the opportunity to interview a student, enrolled for Medical Laboratory Science so most of her modules required a certain level of practicality, who started their first in 2021 amidst covid restriction. When asked about her expectations for the year given that all her modules are online, she pointed out that she expected some level of difficulty in the course, but she faced more than she had originally expected. She explains that she had mixed feelings about learning online and writing on campus. “The whole online thing, it gave me challenges and being isolated from your colleagues is difficult” she went on venting, she experienced difficulties as she struggled with assignment and certain concepts.
Online learning had many challenges and has had an impact on first year students, especially those in the science field, feelings of exclusion and not being able to discuss with your course mates. Hybrid classes will be seen as a norm, yet the struggle to cope will continue, but keep in mind that if you have a certain goal, you should be able to adapt despite the mode of learning to achieve it.
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