By Julieth Baracaldo
My name is Julieth Baracaldo. I am a second-year international student from Colombia. Currently, I am enrolled in the Post Baccalaureate Diploma in accounting in TRU, and I am part of the Intercultural Ambassadors team.
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and all the uncertainty, switching from the traditional face to face classes to virtual delivery was not a choice for us, so we had to do it and adapt to it. For me it has been a big challenge: in order to deal with online education, I had to set an schedule and be more disciplined, which involves lots of dedication and self study! Some teachers provide valuable resources, such as video recordings, live Q&A sessions, and Moodle work; in my experience, a combination of all those tools was effective for me. However, we had to manage those resources, improve our time management skills, and get used to dealing with technology. In my case, I just keep a positive attitude toward the whole situation we are living through in the educational environment. As we already have a lot of stress from all things happening from the last year 2020, changing the mindset is a big challenge for sure.
During the pandemic, lots of international students went back home and continued their studies through a virtual delivery format. Apart from all the stress caused by the COVID outbreak, some of them still struggle with online learning: they use different methodologies when it comes to completing assignments, quizzes, etc. Some of them are very good at adapting to technology, while others have to learn how to use tech resources; some students don’t have access to a strong internet connection in their own homes in order to get through the online courses’ requirements, and thus they fail to catch up with their virtual sessions or miss some deadlines. According to them, being engaged is difficult sometimes because the lack of interaction and time difference between their home countries and Canada.
As the COVID crisis is growing, instructors realize this a great concern to most people and is clearly interfering with their studies–they understand about technical issues and other problems. In response, they have been quite helpful by delaying due dates, re-arranging a time for quizzes, etc. We all know that online learning has been a big challenge for instructors as well, as they have had to adjust to and rely on technology. Overall, they try to be more flexible and available to the needs of students and understand their concerns; in that regard, they should always be open to having individual video appointments or engaging with students in many ways. Every professor has a different teaching style, but they can try to adapt to the general needs of all students. This is a learning process for everyone, but it depends on each one of us to embrace the change with positivity!!