Communication barriers between students and faculty prevent compromise

By: Alejandro Flores

Students and campus faculty are facing barriers when attempting to communicate. This is driving the two further from the middle ground in a fair education system for both the teacher and the student. 

In a recent poll conducted on students who used to attend on campus classes at ELAC, students shared they were affected most by financial burdens, health concerns, and social interaction deprivation. There seems to be an understanding that everyone has had to adjust their school experience to accommodate for a safe learning environment. Students reported concerns with limited one-on-one interaction with faculty members. Meanwhile campus faculty have noted students showing less initiative when interacting in the course meetings. Both groups are still attempting to familiarize with the technology required to access the new education platform in which they are required to interact. 

However, the virus has not affected all people equally; students are facing new challenges. Take into account the college’s geographical service area, for some the campus was the only place they called home. New programs to assist students dealing with homelessness are now in place as of September 2020. Nevertheless the disparity in access to reliable internet or perhaps even a technology device to access the internet remains a burden for some. 

Students who normally prefer face-to-face instruction are rating their school experience during the pandemic as unsatisfactory. This may be due to instructors giving students less time to speak during a Zoom class meeting. For many, the pandemic has resulted in the sabotaging of their GPA’s. Asking a question during a zoom meeting requires interrupting the professor who may or may not see you on their screen. The second option is waiting until the professor acknowledges the raised hand setting in the video call platform. Either of the two can be distracting, as well as intimating for some students.

For many, the accountability factor has changed. Students reported their will to complete homework assignments is not as strong when compared to on campus class meetings. There is no worse feeling than showing up to class without your homework completed. Zoom has removed this stigma. Mainly because everyone submits their work independently without classmate judgement or approval. Juan Jimenez, a current Philosophy student at ELAC claimed his instructors are returning graded assignments much later than usual. With little to no feedback attached to the grades. 

Educational leaders need to work collectively to establish a more comprehensive education experience for all participants.  As for faculty and students, together they will have to maneuver delicately to achieve education success in the times of COVID-19.  

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