With many courses at Conestoga College expected to return to in-person classes this winter, some students and professors are looking forward to the transition, but others have concerns for the semester ahead.
Ashhar Khan, an IT student at Conestoga College who graduated in 2020, is one of the many who experienced the challenges of transitioning their education to a fully online environment.
“I faced a lot of difficulties in adapting to the online environment of learning. I certainly did not enjoy learning online,” Khan said.
One of Khan’s main obstacles while transitioning to online learning was how communication with his professors began to suffer.
“I couldn’t just stand and have eye-to-eye contact with my professor and ask any doubts about my course. We had to email the professor if we had any difficulty, which made it harder to have a smooth learning experience,” Khan said.
He said that this was especially difficult for his classmates who were nervous about expressing that they were having problems.
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Colleen James, Program Coordinator for Administrative Business Management at Conestoga College, discussed the concerns some students have about being back in the classroom.
“It will be good to have that connection in-person again, but I think everyone is kind of a bit cautious as well,” said James. People are wondering, “what does this look like now when we are back in the classroom, and what things do we have to be mindful of that we probably weren’t mindful of before.”
In an informal Instagram survey of 20 university and college students from across Waterloo Region, most students enjoy in-person classes, with 58 per cent of students saying they prefer in-person classes over online.
The lack of human connections was another concern students like Khan had while learning online.
“I don’t remember my classmates. I didn’t even know how they looked in person. I just felt like I was from another planet,” Khan said.
While there are concerns for what’s ahead, with the expected return to more in-person classes this winter, many students are looking forward to being able to interact with their classmates and professors.
As Khan said, “learning is not just learning but a nostalgic memory of moments we make with classmates and professors.”
Proof of vaccinations will be required for all students, faculty, and visitors of the college campus as of Jan. 2, 2022. Face masks are required at all times while on campus.
For more information on COVID-19 protocols at Conestoga College go to https://www.conestogac.on.ca/covid-19.