Thursday, December 1, 2022

Hovering Over the Power Button

by the Weekly Sillimanian | October 24, 2021

It has been more than a year since Silliman University resorted to online learning; and now that the midterm examination week has concluded, the long-awaited screen break has finally begun, giving both learners and instructors a time to recharge. 

Based on a resolution by the Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) in school year 2020 to 2021, the first screen break ever implemented was only two days long. At the time, this was arguably inadequate. However, since then, the implementation of this necessary break has come a long way and is currently allocated for at least a week this semester. Still, the Weekly Sillimanian thinks this is not enough.

Although the break has more days now, there are other factors besides duration that affect the quality of this resting time. According to a directive from the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) to deans and directors, during screen break, all students should be “away from any synchronous or asynchronous activities; away from any required learning activities; and away from deadlines or learning outputs”. Despite this, tWS has noticed that some students are still being given deadlines. What is the point of a long break if it is only going to be utilized for academics?

SU must work smarter, not harder. More assignments and exams, especially when it is time to unwind, can be counterproductive and will not automatically make students learn better. In fact, this might even cause burnout, inhibiting the drive of learners even more.

According to a survey handled by the SUSG to support the aforementioned resolution, in October 2020, 86.8% of students were “having problems with schoolwork or daily life due to emotional problems, such as feeling depressed, sad or anxious”. A one-week break is not going to fix this in a snap, especially when schoolwork is being forced upon them. Remember, mental health recovery is not linear. The university should not expect the students to simply be happy just because several free days are given out. They must also encourage them to take the time off.

As solutions to the gaps of the screen break implementation, tWS believes that instructors should modify their lesson plans so there are no deadlines during the break and they and the students can smoothly ease back into academics after this. Additionally, we encourage the administration of Silliman University to be more proactive in prohibiting synchronous and asynchronous activities. If possible, this can even include temporarily disabling the Silliman Online University Learning (SOUL) platform to ensure that students and teachers are taking their well-deserved rest.

Most importantly, to learners and instructors, please slow down. After the busy start of the semester, you need to rest. Press reset and recharge; even robots break down.

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