Transitioning from going to classes at their As Terlaje campus to just turning on their laptops or going on their mobile gadgets to access online learning has required a major adjustment for many Northern Marianas College students.
Anela Duenas, 19, said the transition from face-to-face classes has been rough, especially with her microbiology class. She said online classes require so much more from students in terms of engaging yourself in the course and teaching yourself the material either from videos, text, or PowerPoint.
“Teaching myself microbiology for the past week has been tough but not impossible. I prefer face-to-face classes for my science-related courses because we have lab days that require hands-on activities. I feel that I am not getting the most out of my classes through online courses,” she said.
This was echoed by John Reyes, 20. He said he has had online classes before but that isn’t really his preferred style of learning, as he still learns best in an actual classroom. “It isn’t ideal but it’s the only option we have right now so my class and instructors are always making ways to make it more immersive,” he said.
But such is the new reality now, especially since the novel coronavirus infection has reached the CNMI’s shores, with eight positive cases and one death recorded so far.
“Working from home is nice but there are just too many distractions at home. I also have been struggling with my assignments recently because I can’t have that communication that I used to have on campus. But, on the bright side, I’m happy that my instructors are still putting in the same amount of work or even more with virtual classes. This situation isn’t just taking a toll on us students [but on] our instructors as well,” he added.
Another student from NMC, who asked not to be named, said she does not prefer it this way.
“The pros are that I do not need to drive so far for classes. However, I dislike the workload that is given on the online platform. I personally take six classes in total, four on ground and two online. Having them all online makes it difficult for me,” said the student.
Another said he always preferred learning in a classroom because he pays more attention through face-to-face interaction.
“I tend to procrastinate more often since we’re doing online classes. There’s so much due dates I have to remember. The only thing I like about having online class is that we get to learn and do the work at our own time,” he added.
NMC suspended face-to-face classes last March 16 on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota in an effort to counter the then possible spread of COVID-19 on the islands.
Majority of face-to-face classes actually transitioned to online platforms last March 18, with the remaining classes moving online last March 23. (Chevy Kate Alipio)