theWeeklySillimanian | January 21, 2021
The online enrolment for the second semester continues to be a horror for many students. The MySilliman website underwent technical issues, and those who wished to secure subjects on the first day were not able to. While others tend to overlook, normalizing recurring issues becomes a manifestation of complacency and incompetence. The issues on MySilliman, My Silliman Online University Learning (MySOUL), tuition fees— among others, encapsulate how the administration is handling the current academic crisis. Although one could say that we are still navigating through this major shift, we surely anticipate a better experience from an institution tagged as one of the best schools in the country.
August 2020— Silliman University had its very first online classes across all programs due to the pandemic. Many students were not exactly excited at that, especially when we factor turbulence in context: health risks, economic downturns, and forced isolation. No one was prepared for it, but we were compelled to adjust. Hence, MySOUL was utilized for classes. On the first day of operation, “Silliman” even went trending on Twitter, but for the wrong reason: SOUL was inaccessible.
The Silliman University Student Government (SUSG), in collaboration with the SUSG Research Committee and SUSG Secretariat Committee, conducted an “Online Survey Platform” a month after the opening of classes. The survey results revealed that a significant number of students was dissatisfied with MySOUL, particularly in their experience using BigBlueButton. The majority of the concerns raised pertain to the instructors and the SOUL platform. However, despite the students’ constant grievances validated through the survey and their howling on social media sites, specifically Twitter, the administration seems to be turning a blind eye to their primary clientele.
With the administration shrugging off concerns in these situations, some students cannot help but wonder how the University continues to excel in Asia’s top schools. Does the feeling of pride and honor remain when students, in reality, are barely grappling in this ineffective set-up? Do we still get to live the “Via, Veritas, Vita,” while invalidating others’ hurdles?
While it is true that the administration has been seeking the best way possible, the Weekly Sillimanian believes that they can do better in this situation—which can only be realized when they listen to whom they are serving.
The first run of the online semester was frustratingly experimental enough. tWS refuses to glorify resilience as an excuse to suffice the torture in silence.
We call for the administration to strengthen survey research to the students and tailor its plan from it. Before the online classes started, there was no consultation between the administration and the students, even with any SUSG representative. We implore for the administration to provide what we deserve at the very least— a pedestal for students’ voice starting this second semester.
As students, we can only do so much. But, as Silliman University sharpens us to become critical and analytical to what is wrong and unjust, we will not take issues sitting down.