Major Project 5: Reflective Essay

Sabria Hall

English 1102-Weaver

Major Project 5 Reflection

May 3, 2021

Shall73@student.gsu.edu

This Isn’t the Hard Part

            A global pandemic screamed to educators and students to be more creative and resourceful in their learning. I lit torch on my academic self, found it enflamed with panic and desperation. Who was I but this vessel of years upon years of academic stagnation? Teachers that were uninspired. Teachers that were tired. Teachers that had braved archaic learning structures just so students could open a window to freedom. My academic self lay shriveling instead of ballooning. English 1102 challenged the preconceived notions I had of academic writing. I was a tiny island betrayed by the ominous colonizers, maybe the metaphor seems extreme, but I hadn’t known just how far away I could get.

If you can picture Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now, overweight and mumbling his lines a shell of his shiny glory as Hollywood’s affecting prince. I was Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now the brightness of the first assignment, learning another person’s academic self, meeting classmate Hannah via Zoom, immediately recognizing I had been starving to talk to anyone who was facing the identical challenge of learning within a global pandemic. It was remarkable in how our expression of conversation flowed but when I left the Zoom, I knew the solitary pursuit of a satisfying grade in the class would only be my very own journey.  The Tuesday and Thursday videos a glimpse of a professor who was effusive in giving learning a spin, a destiny beyond just a grade. The patchwriting assignment became the first marginal hiccup, dissecting the words of writer Sean Michael Morris and his article ,“Pivot to Online: A Student Guide. An article that surmised  pandemic teaching would require resilience and a bit of fortitude. The author focusing on those marginalized uniquely and willful to give insight into how to help. I hadn’t thoughtfully engaged with the text and my writing reflected as much.  I couldn’t rely on flowery prose I had to open my brain and give it sunlight. It was another bullet in the already weakening academic self.

            I am a bad writer. I’m not a bad writer. I was born a good writer. That’s the voice in my head. I swallowed that voice. I had to if I wanted to complete the SAR Project 3. This scary thing happened I realized if I wasn’t interested in an assignment. I pushed it off a cliff, let it cling helplessly to the stony edge. Since I was five and could make words form sentences, I’d scribbled tales of evil witches and pugnacious girls in a faded tablet. The teachers fawning over the child who writes the tales, “She was born a writer!” they so easily stated. I received an 80, and I didn’t bother looking at the rubric feedback. I was a bad writer. I was staring at a blank computer screen like thousands of other students. If I put my hand to the screen would someone else’s hand reach back.   

Burnout had come quicker this time, the lethargy had fangs. Writing in the first draft isn’t the best draft, that was a pill I needed to swallow. I thought I could use an old remedy of falling apart inside a book. I picked up the Vanishing Half by Britt Bennet. For a while it soothed the ache promised memories of staying awake past midnight to finish a novel. The research project loomed, and I kept flipping pages. I had become Travis Bickel immersed in the darker teasing of my psyche. I wouldn’t self-monologue in the mirror. I knew how to self-destruct, a perfectionist of chaos. I believed in arson; I could set my academic self on fire. Implode. Explode. Expose.

            I miss voices. I miss the curve of a smile. I miss the nervous quiet of an echoing lecture. I miss giggling. I miss flirting and provocative banter. I miss the whispers of a rumor. I miss the classroom. A makeshift desk upon my bed, the sticky kitchen table and the crowded noisy Panera I tried it all to get that old thing back, but it isn’t the same. Fall semester is still in its slumber but when it awakens, I will go back to campus vaccinated and maybe a just a bit stronger.

 

 

Sabria Hall

English 1102-Weaver

May 1st 2021

Shall73@student.gsu.edu

The Experience of  First Generation Working Class Black Women in College

Williams Qua’Aisa et al. “Exploring Black Girl Magic: Identity Development of Black First-Gen College Women.” Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Oct.2020

Lewis J,Mendenhall,R Harwood,S & Bowne Huntt,M (2013) Coping with Gendered Racial Microaggression among Black Women College Students. Journal of African American Studies

Covid-19 and its Impacts on Forced Online Learning

Jaclyn Young

English 1102

Dr. Weaver

April 23, 2021

 

Covid-19 and its Impacts on Forced Online Learning

In the wake of Covid-19, transition from classroom learning to online learning was inevitable as most college institutions pivoted to online instruction. Fortunately, internet proliferation has already created a space for more profound learning as numerous institutions already had e-learning for some of their programs. However, the unforeseen impact of Covid-19 in learning compelled institutions that were least prepared to engage in online classes to take this path. Unfortunately, such a transition was bound to experience a wide range of unprecedented challenges, which have greatly frustrated the learning process. Resource shortage is a major problem because a large proportion of students lack the devices and technology necessary to engage in the new form of learning. Apart from that, many teachers and learners lack the technical knowledge essential in such a form of learning. Also, the “at home” learning environment is unhealthy for some, which makes it incomparable to the class environment. On this basis, compelling learners to engage in online learning has done more harm than good due to existing inequalities as well as the ineffectiveness of this approach.

Compelling college students to learn online has led to inequalities in higher education because of resource shortages and high poverty levels. In return, online-learning is resource intensive because students require having internet as well as the essential computing devices such as smartphones and computers. While a majority of university students have access to these resources, a significant proportion of students lack these resources. In research conducted by Bacher-Hicks, Goodman, and Mulhern (104) in Pakistan titled, “Inequality in household adaptation to schooling shocks: Covid-induced online learning engagement in real time.”, students expressed that the online learning process was prevented by a lack of access to the internet and not financially able to purchase laptops or computers needed to attend online class. Besides, with the already low attendance rates in classrooms, this is a precursor to signify that a good number of students lack the resources required to participate in online classes. In some institutions, the class attendance rates were less than half of the total population. In a research study titled, “Covid-19 and student performance, equity, and the US education policy.” Authored by Elaine Weiss and Emma Garcia, it is proven that students, particularly from less wealthy families, cannot afford to pay for reliable internet service that ensures they can stream the online classes. From a critical perspective, such an approach to learning will translate to educational inequalities because some learners will be ahead of others. Unfortunately, education will become a benefit of the wealthy population while the poor will be sidelined. Such an outcome will undo the gains that most governments have achieved in ending social inequalities. Therefore, online learning is likely to revive the almost forgotten education as well as income inequalities.

Besides, the technical challenges associated with online learning are likely to make it less effective than in-class learning. Although technological investors were prompt to introduce academic-oriented applications such as Zoom and Google Meet to help in the implementation of e-learning, the usage of the software requires technical expertise, which many of the students and teachers lack especially for the older generation who did not grow up learning all new technological advances (including myself). Vast research has revealed that technical challenges have contributed to the low attendance rates in online classes. The study done titled “Barriers to online learning in the time of COVID-19: A national survey of medical students in the Philippines.” Authored by Ronnie Baticulon, it was determined that despite the fact that more than 90% of the learners had the essential resources for online learning the attendance rates remained lower than 50%. Such findings reveal the underlying problems associated with online learning. A majority of the students had connectivity issues because they lacked the technical expertise of joining the video classes or even installing the required software. At the same time, teachers faced the same problem due to technical skill shortage, which translated to the cancellation of many classes or premature ending of sessions. Dylan Rispoli writes an article titled, “Can online learning be as effective as traditional education?” Rispoli’s research reveals that even those who accessed the e-learning, a majority of them were dissatisfied due to lack teacher-student and student-student interaction. All these challenges point to the fact that online schooling remains a preserve for a few, which makes it less effective than classroom learning.

From a different perspective, online learning downplays the essence of an organized learning environment. Unlike the peaceful classroom learning environment, the home environment is often unsuitable for learning. In his research, Baticulon found out that most students failed to attend classes because the learning environment was toxic or unfriendly for learning (Baticulon et al. (1-12)). In the wake of Covid-19, more family members were compelled to stay at home, which means that students had to learn in an environment with interference from family members. Apart from that, the stress in the majority of households was bound to affect the learning environment. Most college students in poverty-stricken areas suffered from depression due to family-related financial challenges, making them less attentive to learning. Another adversely affected population are those students that lost their income sources when colleges were closed (Garcia and Weiss Para. 1-10). A significant number of college students have part-time jobs, which are the primary source of livelihoods. In worse cases scenarios, some individuals were homeless. Consequently, such distressed students lacked the necessary mental states and environments to engage in learning. Although a majority of them were willing to continue with learning, the conditions were unsuitable for learning. On this basis, online learning was bound to fail due to lack of ideal learning environment provided by a traditional classroom.

However, the proponents of online learning argue that it was a necessary alternative at a time of crisis. When Covid-19 struck in many countries, most classrooms remained closed and the return to school was almost unpredictable. Worse still, the recurring waves of COVID-19 are bound to interfere with schooling programs in an unexpected manner (Garcia and Weiss Para. 1-10). Therefore, the students were left with the alternative of waiting until the pandemic subsides or engage in online learning. Unfortunately, the decision to refrain from online learning would have serious impacts on the learning curriculum. A majority of the students would have to repeat their classes, which would complicate the transition of other students from lower levels. Besides, the argument that the future of learning is online suggests that more institutions are bound to launch online courses in the future (Rispoli Para. 7-10). Unfortunately, the outcomes of online learning have revealed that while online learning can be helpful in a time of crisis, it requires adequate preparation and intervention measures to cover students that face financial constraints. Even so, more than ever, online learning during this period has proved that it can only serve to complement in-class learning but not to replace it.

In conclusion, compelling students to engage in online learning was a rushed decision that failed to contemplate its undesirable outcomes. Poverty and resource shortage were bound to impair learning because long gone learning inequalities were to again resurface. Most students lacked the resources to purchase the technological equipment necessary to engage in online learning. Besides, there were low attendance rates because both learners and instructors lacked the technical knowledge essential in online learning. Even students with the devices faced connectivity issues as trainers cancelled and postponed classes due to such challenges. Also, the learning environment was unfriendly, which proves that although online is essential at a time of crisis it cannot replace the classroom learning.

 

 

Works Cited

Baticulon, Ronnie E., et al. “Barriers to online learning in the time of COVID-19: A national survey of medical students in the Philippines.” Medical science educator (2021): 1-12.

Bacher-Hicks, Andrew, Joshua Goodman, and Christine Mulhern. “Inequality in household adaptation to schooling shocks: Covid-induced online learning engagement in real time.” Journal of Public Economics 193 (2021): 104345.

Garcia, Emma and Weiss, Elaine. “Covid-19 and student performance, equity, and the US education policy.” Economy policy institute, 2020. Accessed from:< https://www.epi.org/publication/the-consequences-of-the-covid-19-pandemic-for-education-performance-and-equity-in-the-united-states-what-can-we-learn-from-pre-pandemic-research-to-inform-relief-recovery-and-rebuilding/ >[Accessed on 23rd April, 2021]

Rispoli, Dylan. “Can online learning be as effective as traditional education?” 2020. Accessed from < https://www.worldreader.org/blog/can-online-learning-replace-traditional-education/>>[Accessed on 23rd April, 2021]

 

 

 

 

Why is Student Debt Such a Problem in the U.S.?

Why is Student Debt a Major Problem in the United States?

            Student debt is a quite common problem right now within the United States. Jannine Crucet wrote an article talking about her college experience. In Crucet’s article Taking My Parents to College, she talked about when she signed up for student loans. Crucet said, “Aside from a check-in with my financial aid officer when she explained what work-study was (I didn’t know and worried it meant I had to join the army or something) and where she had me sign for my loans, I was mostly keeping to myself to hide the fact that I was a very special kind of lost.” (Crucet). What Crucet mentioned is most likely relatable to a lot of college students in the U.S. right now, as we are in a student debt crisis. There are a lot of reasons as to why student debt became such an issue and how it is a problem now, but there are also things that can be done to fix it.

            Our country’s (the United States of America) history plays a big role on how student debt came about. Around the time period of 1890-1940 the only people who really went to college were people who were wealthy or wanted a religious education. Then over the years as time changed more and more people wanted to expand their education so colleges became open to a larger part of the population. Abigail Hess from CNBC Make It wrote an article where CNBC interviewed students, borrowers, historians, and experts to find out how student debt became a crisis in the United States. According to CNBC Make It in the late 1960s, “education costs were low and college enrollment grew; so did the U.S. economy.” (Hess). Colleges could have low tuition costs due to efficient government funding. Problems did not start until the Regan Era in the 1980s. CNBC Make It stated that “Reagan cut higher education funding and student aid, and college costs boomed as a result.” (Hess). This is saying that due to the tax revolt, state governments had to cut education funding. In order for colleges to stay open they had to increase tuition prices. Tuition prices have only gone up since then. CNBC Make It says the College Board said that “during the 1980-1981 school year, on average, it cost students the modern equivalent of $17,410 to attend a private college and $7,900 to attend a public college — including tuition, fees, room and board.” (Hess). In 2020 the average cost of tuition, room and board, and fees was said to be around $21,950 for in-state, and $38,330 for out-of-state. The high cost of college leads to many people obtaining a lot of student debt.

            According to the Journal of Literacy and Technology “Almost 45 million Americans hold student debt, which totals to an astronomical $1.64 trillion.” (Rubin, Alexanyan pg. 3). Around 66% of people who graduated from public colleges had an average debt of $25,550. The 75% percent of people who graduated from private, none-profit college had an average debt of $32,300. Having this much money to pay off can affect not only people who owe the money back, but the economy as well, which is why student-debt is such a large problem. Elyssa Kirkham wrote an article on Student Loan Hero about the effect that Student Debt has on people and the economy. Having a huge amount of student debt can delay people reaching their life milestones. Kirkham states that “There are many studies out there showing that this debt is causing consumers to delay first time home purchases, getting married, having children and retirement, just to name a few.” (Kirkham). If people have a huge amount of student debt to pay off then they will not have enough money to get married, have children, etc. causing them to fall behind on major life events. Another reason why student is a problem is that it slows the growth of new business. Kirkham mentions that “student loan debt means fewer new businesses are created…an associate professor of finance at Northeastern University, estimates that a person with $30,000 in student loans is 11% less likely to start a business than one who graduated debt-free.” (Kirkham). Student loans prevent spending and business which literally run the U.S. economy. The effects of student debt can slow economic growth and even its overall productivity.

            Even though student debt is a major problem there are still things that can be done to help get rid of some of it. An example would be Joe Biden’s $10,000 plan. Ben Holland and Alex Tanzi wrote an article showing the statistics and problems of student debt, but also mentioned possible solutions such as Biden’s plan. According to Holland and Tanzi, “Biden’s $10,000 plan would wipe out about $370 billion in loans…”. (The Battle Over Student Debt). This would cancel out $10,000 of student loan debt per person. Ryan Lane from Nerdwallet wrote an article explaining Biden’s $10,000 plan and how it would work. According to Lane Biden’s plan could “wipe out debt completely for nearly 15 million borrowers who owe $10,000 or less according to federal data.” (Lane). This means it would help 33% of loan borrowers pay off their student debt. Another way the government can help you repay your loans would be through loan forgiveness. FederalStudentAid has an article all about Loan forgiveness and how one can achieve it. Loan Forgiveness could be a good option for someone who cannot afford to pay back their loans. According to FederalStudentAid “loan forgiveness means you don’t have to pay back some or all of your loan.” (Student Loan Forgiveness). There are many different options of loan forgiveness for different careers so it is good to check what a person may be eligible for. An example of loan forgiveness would be Teacher Loan Forgiveness. FederalStudentAid states that “if you teach full time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary or secondary schools..you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500 on eligible federal student loans.” (Student Loan Forgiveness). Different loans have different requirements, but if a person follows them correctly, they can have some or all of their loans paid off.

            Student Debt has been an ongoing crisis in the United States for many years. It seems to be a cycle within families because it is so difficult to pay off the loans that were needed for college education. The student debt crisis has caused people to not be able to live the life they went to college to achieve due to the extremely high costs of tuition. There are some ways to help, but the options are slim and somewhat complicated, and not everyone is eligible. There needs to be a change or else student debt will forever haunt the higher education system of the U.S.

 

 

 

Sources

       Hess, Abigail J. “How Student Debt Became a $1.6 Trillion Crisis.” CNBC, CNBC, 12 June 2020, www.cnbc.com/2020/06/12/how-student-debt-became-a-1point6-trillion-crisis.html.

Holland, Ben, and Alex Tanzi. “The Battle Over Student Debt.” Bloomberg Businessweek, no. 4684, Jan. 2021, pp. 22–24. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,shib&db=bth&AN=147953424&site=eds-live&scope=site

Kirkham, Elyssa. “What Are the Effects of Student Loan Debt on the Economy?” Student Loan Hero, Lendingtree, 9 Feb. 2021, studentloanhero.com/featured/effects-of-student-loan-debt-us-economy/.

Rubin, Nancy, and Karina Alexanyan. “Data Science Reveals US Higher Education and Student Loan Systems Are Failing Students Who Need Them Most.” Journal of Literacy & Technology, vol. 22, no. 1, Spring 2021, pp. 92–125. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,shib&db=eue&AN=149642998&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Lane, Ryan. “Joe Biden’s Student Loan Plan: What’s Happening Now.” NerdWallet, NerdWallet Inc., 21 Apr. 2021, www.nerdwallet.com/article/loans/student-loans/joe-biden-student-loans.

“Student Loan Forgiveness (and Other Ways the Government Can Help You Repay Your Loans).” An Office of the U.S. Department of Education, FederalStudentAid, studentaid.gov/articles/student-loan-forgiveness/.

Research Project

 

College serves as an opportunity to provide higher education or specialized professional training. For the privilege, college is expected to be a blissful moment in life. However, for first generation students that headline may not read the same. First generation college students may have a different outlook on the pre-emotions of going to college. Attending college consists of having a determined mindset to accomplish a higher education. It can be difficult to accomplish something when you lack support. The lack of guidance and mental stress can add extra challenges to achieving higher education. 

To find guidance, I applied to a college-readiness program during my junior year called the Achievers Scholars Program through the College Success Foundation (CSF), (Ronnie Estoque, I’m one of the first in my family to attend college. Here’s how I got here Pg. 1).  Within the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has added additional challenges for first-generation college students. Since the start of the pandemic 30% of students indicated that they wanted to reduce the number of courses they were enrolled in or completely withdraw from classes. There are reports as of January 2021 that show undergraduate students have reduce their course load by 4%. This global pandemic has negatively impacted students academic motivated and success. (Student’s also experience stress from their studies and their emotional well being is declining because of the pandemic. Terenzini et al. 1996). This research paper is to explore how are first generation student coping during this pandemic and maintaining a stable mind-set to complete their goal of graduating? There are tools and resources such as the federally funded TRIO program, that may be able to support the mental health and academic success for first generation college students.  

Before the global Covid-19 Pandemic, college offered vast amenities and the services available on campus are what provided students an outlet. However, with a wide range of activities, maintaining a certain academic grade was still mandatory to participate. Since the start of Covid-19, those activities and resources have ceased, and everyone must fend for themselves. The appointments are longer to see a counselor, and to find help right away is a thing of the past. Studies show that 40% of college students across America drop out from college after their first year (Vaughn et al., 2017.) Students who are coming from a first-generation background are at higher risk at becoming a college drop out. Noting the above barriers, first-generation students overall academic success and social integration across the university is due to reduced faculty support on campus and is exasperated by a reluctance from first-generation college students to seek out help/ All of these factors contribute to increased attrition (Katrevich & Aruguete, 2017; Stephen et al, 2012.) This is important to understand because first-generation college students need more support and guidance when they are in school in order to graduate.  

Support and guidance can be hard to find with schools closed, and everything online. Some universities offer a supportive program called TRIO, a federal funded program that gives service grants through the U.S Department of Education. TRIO aids to support the non-privileged students with free tutoring, educational field trips, personal counseling, and a list of other resourceful benefits. Campus support and other personal interactions are tools needed for first-generation students trying to figure out an unfamiliar environment and TRIO provides that. It’s known that the pandemic has caused students to feel fatigue, loss of idealism, anxiety, depletion, and several other emotions. TRIO, aids students to cope with problem-solving to identify the direct issues students are having. I am a TRIO student, and even through a pandemic, I receive daily text messages reminding me to reach out if assistance is needed.  

First generation college students (FGCS) face academic, financial, professional, cultural, emotional challenges throughout the process of obtaining a higher education.  A study found that compared with traditional college students, FGCS took fewer humanities courses, studied fewer, took fewer credits, worked more part time hours, and were less likely to participate in honors programs (Terenzini et al. 1996). How do you maintain mental stability with when you are working hard to accomplish something, but the odds are stacked up against you? A study has been conducted to test the difference between Mental Fitness skills, Psychological Resilience, and Academic Achievement among First Generation College Students.  

An outlook on resilience is strength to surpass all challenges. To have the courage to face fear, produce positive results even after being exposed to trauma. Everyone is not able to make it out of the challenging circumstances and walk into a master’s degree. Some people may have the desire but the mental fear, and depression and other scary mental disabilities keep a lot of people from moving forward. The number’s never lie, and although people are verbally rooting for themselves. Studies show that FGCS scored below the mean on all six of the Test of Performance Strategies Revised for College Students. (TOPS-RCS)  

First generation college students experience unique stressors. Covarrubias, Romero, And Trivelli (2015) found that higher level of family achievement guilt (i.e. the feelings of guilt that arise when students have more educational success than their parents or siblings) result in significantly higher depressive symptoms, lower self-esteem, and a higher frequency of minimizing their academic success among first generation college students the non-first generation college students. It’s one thing to know that the systematic racial system we live under is rooting for you to fail, but when your family isn’t rooting for you it’s heartbreaking. (   ) Another mental stressor for first generation college student  is because high counselor often fail to discuss college with potential first time generation students, steer them away from a rigorous high school curriculum, or even discharge them from pursing college (Hudley et. Al 2009; Rendon, 1993, Saenz, Hurtado, Barrera, wolf yeung, 2007). It is no wonder some people never make it through the doors. The leaders who are supposed to be assisting, are doing more damage than doing good.

(Since majority of first-generation college students are minorities, or people who come from a background of socioeconomics Lisa House et al). First Generation College Students are also children of immigrants. It is time to rise and do the unthinkable. Come together and raise funds to send children to elite university, because a lot of privilege people spend money for their kids to attend Harvard. If your family is not supporting you, or you are just simple all alone. TRIO and other academic enrichment programs are available to assist students through this pandemic. It is a good resource if you’re having anxiety about your experience in higher education. TRIO tutors also offer opportunities for tutoring and show how to solve problems. Programs like TRIO can assist students with skills and tools if students are worried about work overload and balancing personal life with school. There are challenges that have arisen for first generation college students because of this pandemic and there are not enough solutions and resources to help with these challenges.

 

Citations

Angela L. Vaughan, et al. “Intersection Between Trio/SSS Programs and FYS Effects on First- Generation Students”. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice Vol. 20(15)2020

Lisa A. House PH. D “Supporting the Mental Health Need of First-Generation College Students”. Center for Counseling and Human Developing. 2019

Ronnie Estoque, I’m one of the first in my family to attend college. Here’s how I got here. Page 1

How the Pandemic made an Impact on College Students Mental Health

The Pandemic

The year 2020 was supposed to be a new beginning for the new decade. New resolutions and promises were made but no one would’ve ever thought the world would be entering a global pandemic. A deadly virus, known as the COVID-19 virus, was and still is spreading throughout the globe. This led to lockdowns, isolation, and social distancing which separated a lot of people from their friends and family. Many people became unemployed and students had to leave campus and continue their education at home, away from the school resources and amenities. Students have endured one of the most dramatic life changes during the Pandemic. They were stripped away from having a real, normal college experience. Unfortunately, many students have experienced mental health issues throughout the past year. Active Minds is an organizational movement that promotes mental health in young adults. They surveyed about two thousand college students and 80% reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health.

What is Mental Health and Why is it so Important for College Students?

Taking care of mental health is incredibly important for students. Mental Health is defined by our psychological well-being. It also consists of our emotional and social well-being (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). All of these can affect how a person thinks, feels, and acts, and it can also help how we may be able to handle life’s problems. Realistically, mental health affects everything, which is why it’s so important for students to improve and maintain it. Students have a lot of responsibilities which tends to cause stress and anxiety that can impact our physical health (Browne). Sarah Browne, the writer of 3 Reasons Why Mental Health Is So Important, informs her audience of what can occur if we lack the necessary treatment. It “leads to hopelessness and sadness, worthlessness, feeling guilty,  anxiety and worry, fear, and loss of control.” For students, this can lead to a decline in their performance in school and work.

How Did COVID-19 Affect College Students?

Evan Thompson revealed that the switch from face-to-face learning to remote learning is one of the “biggest triggers” for anxiety and depression. The mandated social distancing helped decrease the spread of the CoronaVirus but the lack of social interaction makes students feel excluded and disconnected (Thompson). Social interaction is important for many college students and it’s one of the main things they look forward to. Many students were kicked out of their campus living and were forced to move back home. Unfortunately, some of them were in toxic, abusive environments which emotionally and mentally drains the students. Other students found difficulty with staying consistent with a schedule and looking out for themselves.

What Are Some Ways College Students Can Improve and Maintain Their Mental Health?

The mind and body are connected, therefore the best way to start improving your mental health is by taking care of your body. Alicia Betz, writer of “How to Take Care of Your Mental Health in College,” says eating well and exercising can affect your depression, anxiety, and addiction (Betz). Betz includes a lot of helpful ways to help your mental health. Students must allow themselves to accept the reality of the pandemic and putting things in perspective can help you realize that it’s all a part of life. The biggest step a student can do is open up about their issues and get the help they need before it gets worse. It’s crucial for students to take healthy breaks from time to time. Many college students tend to overwork themselves which drains them of their energy. It’s important to exercise in any stress-relieving activities to help prevent worsening any mental illness symptoms.

Conclusion

The pandemic has caused a lot of unpredictable events. Many people have lost loved ones and others are struggling with financial issues. Everyone is going through their own personal battle at this time and it’s important to have patience with yourself and others. Mental Health affects everything and having patience while improving and maintaining the mind can help students accomplish their goals for school while also feeling happy with themselves.

 

Citations

Betz, Alicia. How to Take Care of Your Mental Health in College, Education Corder, www.educationcorner.com/mental-health-college.html. 

Browne, Sarah. “3 Reasons Why Mental Health Is So Important.” Lifehack, Lifehack, 12 Jan. 2021, www.lifehack.org/874881/why-is-mental-health-important. 

“Learn About Mental Health – Mental Health – CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 Jan. 2018, www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm. 

“Statistics.” Active Minds, 2 Mar. 2021, www.activeminds.org/about-mental-health/statistics/. 

Thompson, Evan. “How COVID-19 Has Impacted Student Mental Health.” TheBestSchools.org, 19 Mar. 2021, thebestschools.org/magazine/covid-19-impact-student-mental-health/. 

Research Project – Lise Xu

Lise Xu

Professor Weaver

ENGL1102

27 April 2021


Colleges Approaching Digital Divide and Low-Income Students

            Much of education today relies heavily on digital technology compared to the “pens and papers” of the past. Even this very research project is completed electronically. Device usage in school starts in early education, where most students spend years building digital proficiency for higher education. Students are encouraged – even expected – to own some sort of electronic device with internet access, but not everyone has the privilege to do so. In his article “I Was a Low-Income College Student. Classes Weren’t the Hard Part”, Anthony Abraham Jack briefly mentions his lack of access to technology as a low-income student, highlighting the issue of the digital divide in education. The purpose of this research is to give insight into the impact of the digital divide on low-income college students and how colleges should approach this issue.

            There is no doubt that digital divide creates an academic disadvantage for low-income students. The use of technology has become an integral part of any college student’s life ranging from checking emails, registering for classes, accessing grades, etc. Success in higher education depends on the knowledge of using digital tools and services to one’s benefit. Joanna Goode in her journal “Mind the Gap: The Digital Dimension of College Access”, emphasizes the idea that the lack of access to technology in early education hurts a student’s ability to succeed in higher education. Goode believes that those from a lower socio-economic background tend to avoid utilizing technology to its fullest potential due to the embarrassment of the lack of digital experience. She then claims that “students who are not using technology are potentially at an academic disadvantage” compared to their counterparts (Goode 584). In other words, the digital divide that prompts the disadvantage for low-income students is a result of limited digital access to build technical proficiency prior to college.

In Goode’s journal, two case studies were conducted to follow up on her claim that low-income students have an academic disadvantage. The first study follows Lara, a Latina college freshman with a low-income background. In high school, she never utilized computers since she had no access to the internet despite having a device. Her teachers also had limited experience with digital programs, leaving her with minimal self-taught knowledge to survive college assignments. Lara was unaware of her university’s virtual resources as no one told her about them. Her experience is the opposite of the experience of Scott from the second case. Scott has a more advantageous background, having worked with computers since 4th grade. His high level of proficiency was built throughout the years and allowed him to utilize his knowledge to the maximum in college. In this case, Scott was aware of his university’s virtual resources, which saved him time and money that Lara did not have the opportunity to get. Based on these two students’ experiences, “schools need to be guided by universities to better prepare students for the high-tech demands of campus life” (Goode 607). Those with a low-income background cannot succeed without support from universities, whether it starts from early education or when students are on campus.

There has always been an assumption that the digital divide exists due to the lack of unlimited access to technology and Wi-Fi. The obvious solution is to have an institution provide devices and online access to all students to allow everyone equal opportunity. Buford L. McWright believed there was more to the digital divide besides the lack of access. He conducted a study with students of various races and economic backgrounds and documented his findings in the article “EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AT A DISTANCE Is Access to Technology Enough?” The study itself concluded with the idea that “providing access…may be a necessary” but it is not sufficient enough to ensure “students will improve their skills and develop more positive attitudes toward technology” (McWright 171). Digital divide hurts low-income students by interfering with their opportunities to build technical skills. Even if colleges did provide unlimited access, these students would not benefit much more due to their lack of experience.

Going into higher education, college students will have various degrees of digital readiness due to their diverse backgrounds. Digital divide and education inequalities affect each student’s digital literacy, with low-income students suffering the consequences of having less digital knowledge. This concept is introduced through a study in Nicole Buzzetto-Hollywood, et al.’s journal “Addressing Information Literacy and the Digital Divide in Higher Education.” The journal addresses the belief that many in higher education assume students are already proficient in digital learning and technology to be successful, therefore “rendering additional coursework unnecessary” (Buzzetto-Hollywood, et al. 89). That hurts low-income students as colleges will spend less time and resources providing digital assistance with their generalizing belief. Higher education institutions should instead focus on examining digital literacy skills and the needs of all students, followed by providing resources for these students to improve their technical capabilities by the time they graduate.

As education continues to digitalize, the academic inequalities low-income students experience will keep growing. The main concern revolves around the lack of experience these students have with technology and digital programs that would otherwise help them through higher education. As technology evolves and new complicated programs emerge, low-income students are left in the dust without proper support. Colleges should take into consideration every student’s digital literacy skills and technical backgrounds to provide efficient programs that can bridge the academic inequality between students.


Works Cited

Buzzetto-Hollywood, Nicole, et al. “Addressing Information Literacy and the Digital Divide in Higher Education.” Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning & Learning Objects, vol. 14, Jan. 2018, pp. 77–93. EBSCOhost, doi:10.28945/4029.

Goode, Joanna. “Mind the Gap: The Digital Dimension of College Access.” Journal of Higher Education, vol. 81, no. 5, Sept. 2010, pp. 583–618. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/00221546.2010.11779068.

Jack, Anthony Abraham. “I was a Low-Income College Student. Classes Weren’t the Hard Part.” New York Times, Sept. 20, 2019. 

MCNAMEE, T. Y., et al. “Don’t Forget About Rural Higher Education Students: Addressing Digital Inequities During COVID-19.” Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, vol. 37, no. 7, May 2020, pp. 12–13. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,shib&db=a9h&AN=143444985&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

McWright, Buford L. “EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AT A DISTANCE Is Access to Technology Enough?” Quarterly Review of Distance Education 4, no. 2 (Summer 2003): 167. https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,shib&db=a9h&AN=10049797&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

Sydney’s Research Project

Sydney Davis

ENGL 1102

Professor Rebecca Weaver

4-27-21

Research paper on Will virtual learning takeover in person classes?

Over years computers and other electronics have improved and increased in today’s world in many aspects. People don’t use electronics anymore for just leisure they are starting to use it even more for business, school and much more! The world as of today depends on electronics more than anything! For example, during this Covid pandemic society has relied on electronics to get through everything especially when it comes to school for students. It helped students and teachers to be able to still learn and teach while doing social distancing. With change it can be a pro and a con, but will Virtual learning outcome be a pro or con?

Virtual learning has increased comfortability and convenience in classrooms now. Imagine the students that are too shy to ask a question in front of the class , now they won’t have to because one they can easily message their professor about any questions that they have or even because their classmates aren’t in the same space as them so it isn’t all eyes on them. A major benefit is that Nikki Eye pointed out that “students can be logged in from anywhere in the world.” (Eye, 1) Students can log on their phones to check grades and assignments at one easy touch! With every benefit it’s always a downfall somewhere around, because with convenience it can also become complicated also.  What if a student has bad Wi-Fi or in a dead zone and there is an assignment due, what does the student do then? Most of the time it’s either a late grade which takes point away from the assignment or even just plain out a fail. Then again that’s where comfortability comes in place, where students can ask their professor for more time because of their situation with Wi-Fi. It’s easier for students to ask questions through email then face to face, less intimidating.

What we also must take in consideration is that with comfortability it takes away from teachers and students socializing with one another. How do you build up a relation with your classmate when it’s time to do a group project or how do you build a relationship with your teacher when you need more time on a project? Well Ashley Brooks pointed put a good point that “It’s not ideal for a student to sit alone with their computer throughout their entire degree program” (Brooks. 1) Because there are no interactions of no sort it makes the student discouraged. Brooks also makes a point to make online class better is to “I recommend making an extra effort to get to know your digital classmates. You could organize a group video hangout and do icebreakers or facilitate a conversation.”” (Brooks, 1) Is it different yes, but it can make virtual learning ten times better. But then again you have camera phones that do video calls which can build relation, but does it take away from the relationship part that you should have in class settings? It’s a fifty percent that video relations can ease some students into being interactive and then it can also hurt a students social interaction also.

If higher education was fully virtual learning it would take away the experience of college life on campus. It would be cheaper in some aspect, but it would break the tradition that most students look forward to when graduating college. Without having a social life in school, it can possibly hurt the student’s academics which “social isolation shows up as a main reason for students to withdraw from their studies.” (Eye, Page 1). Academics are a big part of school, but students look for a social interaction also, it makes school fun for students but without that it’s just boring! Imagine teachers trying to make class assignments fun through virtual learning and then imagine teachers doing a fun assignment in person class, it’s a major difference and every class needs that social interaction.

A big consideration that we must take in consideration is students with learning disabilities. It’s already an obstacle for those students to learn in class, so to put them on virtual could be very hard. In a study students were asked how their attention level was while doing virtual learning and most said “they were distractible and had difficulty focusing on what they were doing” (N. Hollins, A. R. Foley,612) Imagine students that have ADHD who have trouble staying focus and now they are forced to do virtual learning which is low support for them. For professors it can be hard because how do they get the attentions of their students who need it the most through virtual? In some aspect’s students will get distracted by just a color or too much words on a computer screen, which it can make pretty hard for a student to focus. Virtually it would be a failure for any student to strive.

It’s not impossible for complete virtual learning, but it can be if all students from aspects aren’t accommodated. When thinking virtual learning you must take a lot of things into consideration like, finances, learning disabilities, dead zones, and social interactions. It is a long way to go before learning will ever be fully virtual. 

 

Annotated Bibliography

 

Wang, Y., & Decker, J. (2014). Can virtual schools thrive in the real world? TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 58(6), 57–62. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-014-0804-z

Hollins, Nancy, and Alan Foley. “The Experiences of Students with Learning Disabilities in a Higher Education Virtual Campus.” Educational Technology Research & Development, vol. 61, no. 4, Aug. 2013, pp. 607–624. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s11423-013-9302-9.

eye, nikki. “Online Learning in the Time of COVID-19: What Are the Pros and Cons?” Scholarship America, 4 Aug. 2020, scholarshipamerica.org/blog/online-learning-in-the-time-of-covid-19-pros-and-cons/.

Brooks, A. (2019, January 14). Breaking down the pros and cons of online classes. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.rasmussen.edu/student-experience/college-life/pros-and-cons-online-classes/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sydney’s Research Paper

Sydney Davis

ENGL 1102

Professor Rebecca Weaver

4-27-21

Research paper on Will virtual learning takeover in person classes?

Over years computers and other electronics have improved and increased in today’s world in many aspects. People don’t use electronics anymore for just leisure they are starting to use it even more for business, school and much more! The world as of today depends on electronics more than anything! For example, during this Covid pandemic society has relied on electronics to get through everything especially when it comes to school for students. It helped students and teachers to be able to still learn and teach while doing social distancing. With change it can be a pro and a con, but will Virtual learning outcome be a pro or con?

Virtual learning has increased comfortability and convenience in classrooms now. Imagine the students that are too shy to ask a question in front of the class , now they won’t have to because one they can easily message their professor about any questions that they have or even because their classmates aren’t in the same space as them so it isn’t all eyes on them. A major benefit is that Nikki Eye pointed out that “students can be logged in from anywhere in the world.” (Eye, 1) Students can log on their phones to check grades and assignments at one easy touch! With every benefit it’s always a downfall somewhere around, because with convenience it can also become complicated also.  What if a student has bad Wi-Fi or in a dead zone and there is an assignment due, what does the student do then? Most of the time it’s either a late grade which takes point away from the assignment or even just plain out a fail. Then again that’s where comfortability comes in place, where students can ask their professor for more time because of their situation with Wi-Fi. It’s easier for students to ask questions through email then face to face, less intimidating.

What we also must take in consideration is that with comfortability it takes away from teachers and students socializing with one another. How do you build up a relation with your classmate when it’s time to do a group project or how do you build a relationship with your teacher when you need more time on a project? Well Ashley Brooks pointed put a good point that “It’s not ideal for a student to sit alone with their computer throughout their entire degree program” (Brooks. 1) Because there are no interactions of no sort it makes the student discouraged. Brooks also makes a point to make online class better is to “I recommend making an extra effort to get to know your digital classmates. You could organize a group video hangout and do icebreakers or facilitate a conversation.”” (Brooks, 1) Is it different yes, but it can make virtual learning ten times better. But then again you have camera phones that do video calls which can build relation, but does it take away from the relationship part that you should have in class settings? It’s a fifty percent that video relations can ease some students into being interactive and then it can also hurt a students social interaction also.

If higher education was fully virtual learning it would take away the experience of college life on campus. It would be cheaper in some aspect, but it would break the tradition that most students look forward to when graduating college. Without having a social life in school, it can possibly hurt the student’s academics which “social isolation shows up as a main reason for students to withdraw from their studies.” (Eye, Page 1). Academics are a big part of school, but students look for a social interaction also, it makes school fun for students but without that it’s just boring! Imagine teachers trying to make class assignments fun through virtual learning and then imagine teachers doing a fun assignment in person class, it’s a major difference and every class needs that social interaction.

A big consideration that we must take in consideration is students with learning disabilities. It’s already an obstacle for those students to learn in class, so to put them on virtual could be very hard. In a study students were asked how their attention level was while doing virtual learning and most said “they were distractible and had difficulty focusing on what they were doing” (N. Hollins, A. R. Foley,612) Imagine students that have ADHD who have trouble staying focus and now they are forced to do virtual learning which is low support for them. For professors it can be hard because how do they get the attentions of their students who need it the most through virtual? In some aspect’s students will get distracted by just a color or too much words on a computer screen, which it can make pretty hard for a student to focus. Virtually it would be a failure for any student to strive.

It’s not impossible for complete virtual learning, but it can be if all students from aspects aren’t accommodated. When thinking virtual learning you must take a lot of things into consideration like, finances, learning disabilities, dead zones, and social interactions. It is a long way to go before learning will ever be fully virtual. 

 

Annotated Bibliography

 

Wang, Y., & Decker, J. (2014). Can virtual schools thrive in the real world? TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 58(6), 57–62. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-014-0804-z

Hollins, Nancy, and Alan Foley. “The Experiences of Students with Learning Disabilities in a Higher Education Virtual Campus.” Educational Technology Research & Development, vol. 61, no. 4, Aug. 2013, pp. 607–624. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s11423-013-9302-9.

eye, nikki. “Online Learning in the Time of COVID-19: What Are the Pros and Cons?” Scholarship America, 4 Aug. 2020, scholarshipamerica.org/blog/online-learning-in-the-time-of-covid-19-pros-and-cons/.

Brooks, A. (2019, January 14). Breaking down the pros and cons of online classes. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.rasmussen.edu/student-experience/college-life/pros-and-cons-online-classes/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Major Project #4: The Struggles of Adapting to Online Learning Amidst a Global Pandemic

Dagny Haim

Professor Weaver

English 1102 Section 330

27 April 2021

Why has online learning been a struggle for students to adapt to during COVID-19?

Introduction

The development of COVID-19 across the world has caused widespread panic amongst students and teachers. Many were scrambling to transition to online learning as quickly as possible, which caused a lot of stress for education everywhere. With online learning, a lot more independence and self-motivation became necessary for students to get their work done. The days of being monitored by teachers and communicating closely with peers were over, at least for a period of time. 

Discussions

Over a year ago, the CoronaVirus pandemic initiated a worldwide shutdown, which included the shutdown of educational institutions. Eventually, schools and colleges were able to swiftly change their curriculum to fit a virtual learning experience. With resources like Zoom, a group video call service, teachers were able to adapt their lectures to an online platform. International web companies started to offer free services for education purposes, according to the article, “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed education forever. This is how.” It also shows a graph of worldwide school closures from February 2020 to March 2020, featuring 1.38 billion closures at the end of March. Authors Cathy Li and Farah Lalani say that “[w]hile some believe that the unplanned and rapid move to online learning – with no training, insufficient bandwidth, and little preparation – will result in a poor user experience that is unconducive to sustained growth, others believe that a new hybrid model of education will emerge, with significant benefits” (Li and Lalani). They discuss the differing opinions on how a rapid switch to online learning could affect the future of education. It could negatively affect an entire year’s worth of education for those in school, but it could also jumpstart an entirely new format of learning online. After mentioning the struggles of online learning for those who do not have reliable access to technology, they say that “[s]ome research shows that on average, students retain 25-60% more material when learning online compared to only 8-10% in a classroom. This is mostly due to the students being able to learn faster online; e-learning requires 40-60% less time to learn than in a traditional classroom setting” (Li and Lalani). When students are allowed to work and learn at their own pace, there is significant improvement in grades and material retainment. 

A different article that disputes Li and Lalani’s conclusion that students are able to learn better online is “Students are falling behind in online school. Where’s the COVID-19 ‘disaster plan’ to catch them up?” The article starts by telling the story of a 14 year-old freshman named Ruby, who is struggling to motivate herself to stay onboard with e-learning. Author Erin Richards explains that “[v]irtual learning might be keeping Ruby, 14, and her family safer during a public health crisis. But it has made it exponentially harder for her to stay motivated and learn. Her online classes are lecture-heavy, repetitive and devoid of student conversation” (Richards). Being a high school freshman is notoriously difficult as it is, but adding a new layer of an entirely new change to the way students are learning sounds outstandingly stressful. The article states that about half of students in the United States are still only attending online classes (Richards). Richards reinforces the topic of under-privileged schools mentioned in the previous article when she says that “[t]he consequences are most dire for low-income and minority children, who are more likely to be learning remotely and less likely to have appropriate technology and home environments for independent study compared with their wealthier peers. Children with disabilities and those learning English have particularly struggled in the absence of in-class instruction” (Richards). On average, students might be able to handle the stressors of learning online, but there are obviously a few stragglers, as pointed out in this article. 

A research study conducted by Georgia State University professors came to a similar conclusion about how COVID-19 has impacted education in today’s world. Most articles about the changes in education in 2020 featured more information about grade schools, but this research study broadens a reader’s perspective on how CoronaVirus has affected all academic levels. Once again, this study is also keen on reiterating the unfortunate fact that not all students have reliable access to technology by saying that “[t]he best tools can be in place, but without equitable access by all students to the tools, adequate preparation time and training for faculty, and the adaption of existing curricula, or the development of brand-new course syllabi, it will be difficult to replicate the in-person learning experience, online” (Armstrong-Mensah, et al.). Going further into the study, the researchers explain their scientific process of gathering information on GSU’s student body. According to their tables, one hundred percent of students they interviewed had some sort of access to technology, which made their transition to e-learning much easier. The study also mentions resources that Georgia State has offered to students during these difficult times, including wifi hot-spots and pre-recorded lecture capabilities. Another statistic deemed important by the study was that thirty percent of students preferred synchronous learning, because it allowed direct communication with their instructor and peers. On the other hand, the transition to online learning made the academic workload more strenuous for sixty percent of students. Contrasting to the second article, GSU’s study states that a little over half of interviewed students said they were able to stay motivated for their online classes (Armstrong-Mensah, et al.). 

Conclusion

There are many differing opinions on how COVID-19 has affected the transition to online learning. Some believe that the development of remote education can allow for more technologically advanced education services in the future, which could make things easier for both teachers and students. On the other hand, students who had to learn how to adapt to e-learning may struggle with motivation for extended periods of time, which can affect their futures.

Works Cited

Armstrong-Mensah, Elizabeth, et al. “COVID-19 and Distance Learning: Effects on Georgia 

State University School of Public Health Students.” Frontiers In Public Health, Georgia 

State University, 18 Aug. 2020, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2020.

576227/full. 

Li, Cathy, and Farah Lalani. “The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Changed Education Forever. This Is 

How.” World Economic Forum, 29 Apr. 2020, www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/ 

04/coronavirus-education-global-covid19-online-digital-learning/. 

Richards, Erin. “Students Are Falling behind in Online School. Where’s the COVID-19 ‘Disaster 

Plan’ to Catch Them up?” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 13 Dec. 

2020, www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/education/2020/12/13/covid-online- 

school-tutoring-plan/6334907002/.