Saturday, May 25, 2024

Another New Normal

by the Weekly Sillimanian | October 9, 2022

It’s been almost two months since Silliman University resumed in-person classes as per the advisory released by the Department of Education (DepEd), announcing that limited F2F (face-to-face) classes will begin in August.

After two years of stagnance, the campus is brought back to life with everyday school activities. In light of this, the resumption of in-person classes has teachers and students alike faced once again with the daunting task of having to adjust to yet another new normal.

In compliance with DepEd, the university is utilizing hybrid classes before five-day F2F classes will become mandatory for all schools starting Nov. 2. This new normal entails a new schedule, designed to accommodate all students and strategically minimize the population in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  

Teachers can now decide to hold online synchronous classes instead of F2F. They make these announcements F2F or via the Silliman Online University Learning platform. Students have to frequently check mySOUL to ensure they do not miss an announcement, class, or assignment.

However, the new learning system has also brought concerns from both college students and parents.

Having the option to decide to hold online synchronous classes instead of F2F may sound like a convenient option to have, however, this does not necessarily extend to the college students. 

For college students, they have been faced with the need to seek out areas near or within Silliman that have a stable internet connection to attend synchronous classes despite already being on campus. This is especially troublesome for those who have back-to-back classes.

Several students have expressed their frustration on this matter. One student recently shared that she has a teacher who holds classes online has a tendency to dismiss them late, but her next class is a F2F one, so she and her blockmates would often be rushing from wherever it is that they found internet for their online class, all the way to their F2F class.

Additionally, taking into account the limited availability of usable devices, some students are needlessly burdened even further. 

Other accounts from students reveal that on several occasions they had already arrived at their designated classroom in time for F2F class only to find out online minutes later that classes are either to be held online synchronously, asynchronously, or not at all.

We understand that this is currently an adjustment period as we transition back to fully in-person classes from Online Distance Learning, but we from the Weekly Sillimanian call for the Administration and faculty to reassess the current modes of teaching and class scheduling in consideration of the college students’ academic performance and holistic development. 

Isn’t this too much to expect of them? In addition to their demanding academic loads, they have to constantly be readily available for both online synchronous and F2F classes. What of those who have neither the means nor the resources for it? 

College students deserve to have set schedules announced ahead of time for alternating modes of class, and for spaces on campus that are  equipped with stable internet and devices available for use. 

Silliman is an institution that values the quality of its students’ education, growth, and college experience. This cannot, and should not, be compromised.

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