Coronavirus: Okanagan post-secondary students navigating online learning

As the last semester of 2020 comes to an end, for many post-secondary students it’s the end of a unique semester centered around online learning.

“Personally, it’s a lot tougher than in-person class,” said Alex Sol, a UBC Okanagan engineering student.

“The interactions, the face-to-face with teachers and classmates that you don’t get makes it definitely much harder.”

Read more: Canadian universities could lose millions, possibly billions due to coronavirus: StatCan

Another Okanagan post-secondary student, Shayla Carson, just recently wrote a paper on how COVID-19 is impacting students.

“Honestly, the kind of consensus (I’ve heard) across everybody, is that it’s generally harder,” said Carson.

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“Their anxiety seems to be a lot higher.”

Carson said students were already juggling a lot before the pandemic. Now, online classes combined with job losses are creating extreme stress for many. 

“Without work and without part-time jobs, we can’t afford things like rent and groceries,” said Carson.

“We are forced to work.”

Read more: Hospitality industry: Up to 40 people eligible for online training program at Okanagan College

Okanagan College did notice a 10-per cent drop in enrolment this past semester, but says it’s unclear how much of that is due to students not liking the new online-based system.

“We know that there’s never been an undertaking of transition to online learning of this scope we’ve experienced over the last nine months,” said Allan Coyle, Okanagan College’s associate vice-president of external and strategic initiatives.

“Something like this isn’t going to happen without hiccups.”

Coyle hopes in-person classes will resume by the fall of 2021. He also wants struggling students to reach out to many services available through their institution or public health.

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