By Yakosu Umana
Photo Credits: Yakosu Umana
Change comes with new challenges, and this year e-learning brings a new challenge for some UPEI students.
Unlike most of his peers, Wannuwat Songaksorn begins his day at 7 p.m. and goes to bed by 4 a.m.
The Computer Science major is from Thailand. Their time is ten hours ahead of Atlantic Canada time.
“I wake up by maybe 12 or 1 p.m. to stay up late during the night,” Songaksorn said.
Songaksorn is just one of the majority of UPEI students who are adjusting to online schooling, and international students who face time difference challenges.
Adjusting to his new daily routine hasn’t been so bad, he said.
“I find it interesting because this is a new lifestyle I have never experienced before.”
He said his instructors face some challenges too. Most of them aren’t familiar with the available e-learning utilities.
Having a large number of students in an online class session may be difficult for them as well, he said.
“If there are more than 30 people in a class [online lecture] it’s going to be confusing for both instructors and students.”
Despite all the challenges, Songaksorn remains optimistic about the fall term.
“The teachers try to improve themselves, and students are adapting… I think, maybe by next week, it’s going to be fine.”
Another UPEI student disagrees.
“I think it’s as good as it could be,” Miah Donahue said.
The 21-year-old from Cornwall is studying Journalism with a minor in diversity justice.
E-learning can’t replace having in-person classes, she said.
“I find it a bit overwhelming. I’ve always found it more beneficial to be in class, face to face with the instructors.
Technical issues are also a challenge for her, Donahue said.
“There’s been some trouble with sharing documents. Also, Zoom calls can lag a bit with sound.”
The instructors aren’t to blame, she said.
“My profs are doing the best they can with their Moodle page.”
Donahue hopes to return to a normal class setting soon.
“I didn’t spend about $3000 to teach myself each course,” she said.
In May, UPEI announced all in-person classes for the Fall 2020 semester (except the Atlantic Veterinary College) will be suspended.
On September 25, the university announced that the majority of courses offered will remain online for the winter semester.