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Student Voices: The value of interaction & connection

— August 17, 2021

These stories are part of a series of informal interviews (conversations and/or survey responses) with online students in various stages of their academic journey. 

Clarence Leiner

Question: Are you currently an online student?
Answer:
Former both fully in-person and fully online student.

Q: What are the biggest challenges that you have faced (or are facing) as an online student?
A:
Biggest challenge to online learning for me was the omission of shared experience. In classroom environments, we were offered the opportunity to hear and contribute to peers’ questions, lessons-learned, obstacles, and breakthroughs. Online learning was almost exclusively independent.

Q: What strategies do you use to address these challenges?  What has worked for you?
A: I attempted to engage on group projects in face-to-face meetings. Online forums help a little, but they were not fully effective.

Q: Were you an online student prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020)?
A:
Yes, I took classes entirely online prior to the pandemic.

Amanda Pannell

Question: Are you currently an online student?
Answer:
Yes, all of my classes are fully online (no in-person work).

Q: What are the biggest challenges that you have faced (or are facing) as an online student?
A: It can be difficult because of the disconnect with professors and other students. The lack of camaraderie that you’d have with fellow students in person isn’t there.

Q: What strategies do you use to address these challenges?  What has worked for you?
A: I hop onto the Sun Devil Connect group often, but otherwise, I have just gotten used to being alone in my journey.

Q: Were you an online student prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020)?
A:
Yes, I took classes entirely online prior to the pandemic.

A student who wished to remain anonymous shared:

Question: Are you currently an online student?
Answer: Yes, at least one of my classes is fully online (no in-person work).

Q: What are the biggest challenges that you have faced (or are facing) as an online student?
A:
Making a connection with peers and professors.

Q: Were you an online student prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020)?
A:
Yes, I took classes entirely online prior to the pandemic.

Another student shared these experiences: 

Question: Are you currently an online student?
Answer:
Yes, all of my classes are fully online (no in-person work).

Q: What are the biggest challenges that you have faced (or are facing) as an online student?
A:
Missing in-person interaction during foreign language classes. And also missing the chance to ask questions immediately during lectures.

Q: What strategies do you use to address these challenges?  What has worked for you?
A:
I email my professors and also do study groups. But I wish there were a forum for online classes where you can post a question or video explaining the issue you have and then a professor or TA would video reply back.

Q: Were you an online student prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020)?
A:
No, I wasn't a student prior to the pandemic.

Thank you, all, for sharing your experiences and strategies!

Read more Student Voices stories.

We are passionate about improving the student experience through storytelling and shared experiences. We hope the 2020-21 Student Voices Project will help our community better understand the challenges that online learners face along the way, and celebrate and share the strategies they use to address these challenges.