All My Classes Are Remote or Hybrid - Now What?

By Maryam Masood July 22, 2020
inside of building

According to my Wolverine Access as of this morning, three out of five of my classes are remote. Two (a Spanish theatre workshop and political science lecture) are hybrid. One course that I’m on the waitlist for is marked in-person, but either way, I’m looking at a primarily remote semester.

I wasn’t surprised, but I was definitely disappointed since I would finally be taking classes for my major (Organizational Studies) after spending two years taking mainly intro level or prerequisite courses for basically every single social science major in LSA.

Speculating about the fall semester with yourself or others nearly always ends up feeling like talking into an echo chamber. It seems useless to give tips or consolation about a scenario that nobody really knows what will look like. So instead, here are some worries I have about the fall semester – if I’m feeling this way, I figured someone else is too. And so that this doesn’t turn into a list of unconstructive complaints, I’m going to also include what I’m going to be doing to try to alleviate these potential challenges.

Not actually learning anything

I know, I know – your ability to learn is completely up to the amount of work and effort you put into the course. My fear isn’t that online classes will be substantially lower in terms of academics, but that I will have less motivation to put in the extra effort online classes require. Even though they’ve gotten a bad rep the past couple of months, online classes aren’t terrible (plenty of people get entire degrees online!). But the lack of classroom environment definitely can create a larger barrier to perform at your best, especially if you’re not used to it.

What I’m doing about it: We’re all bound to zone out every once in a while, and there are going to be days when you don’t feel like participating in class. Unlike online classes in high school earlier this year, in college you meet with your class just as often and have the same number of assignments as you would in-person. When we moved to remote learning back in March, I realized the most important thing when it came to online classes (more so than other formats) was that a bulk of your learning comes from preparing and studying the material before and after class. I would attend class meetings and turn in assignments, but I didn’t end up retaining much. This time around, I’m going to be more accountable about engaging with class material offline.

Being on my laptop all day

I usually take notes on paper, not really because laptops are “distracting” but because I find staring at a laptop screen tends to be more fatiguing than taking handwritten notes (don’t get me wrong, I have no problem binge-watching Indian Matchmaker in two days, but Zoom fatigue is real.) 

What I’m doing about it: Honestly, there’s no real way around this (except not going to class, which I don’t advise). You’re going to be on your laptop for at least an extra three hours a day if you’re like me and have about two remote classes per day. If you’re also used to not spending as much time on your laptop for school, you can commit to carving out time for other activities throughout the day like working out, reading, or just hanging out with friends, just as you would with your classes. If you have a busier schedule, you can also commit to stepping away from your screen during the 10-minute passing period between classes or changing your environment every couple of hours. 

Missing out on campus life/extracurriculars

Typically, when I’m not in classes, the bulk of my day is taken up by getting dinner on S. State with friends, studying in the Union, going to the CCRB, and attending club meetings across the week. I imagine many of our routines are going to look a lot different in the fall. 

What I’m doing about it: While I may not return to my ideal routine, that doesn’t mean I can’t recreate most of these activities to work within safety recommendations. I can picnic outside and six feet apart from my friends and go for a walk in the Arb instead of the gym. The clubs that I’m a part of are adapting so they can operate online and I’m going to make a conscious effort to go to Zoom meetings, even if it won’t be exactly the same. For instance, Festifall and Northfest are going to be held virtually on CareerFairPlus (which honestly, might make it easier to find the organization you want to join instead of walking in crowded circles.)

 

At the end of the day, these concerns are minute in comparison to the larger issues others are facing during the COVID epidemic. Taking remote classes seems reasonable if it means we get to stay safe and do our part to #FlattenTheCurve, not to mention earn a prestigious Michigan degree! 

Maryam Masood

Maryam Masood is a junior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts majoring in Organizational Studies with a minor in Spanish. During the year, she keeps busy as a student employee for CommonGround and Treasurer for the Michigan Refugee Assistance Program. Outside of class and work, she enjoys traveling, procrastinating at the CCRB, and is most likely watching Kim's Convenience or Criminal Minds on Netflix.