Students are overwhelmed by online courses and software

College students are already confused about what to do with online courses and some have even preferred to cancel courses or even their session a few weeks after classes start.

“I was unlucky not to have face-to-face classes. This means I spend my days locked in my room feeling alone. (…) It is extremely difficult not to hesitate, which scares me,” laments Lou Gabriel-Courval.

Like several others spoken to by Le Journal, the 17-year-old student, who is completing his first semester in pure and applied sciences at the Collège de Maisonneuve in Montreal, has already had to drop out of a course because he was unable to complete the necessary ones Finding help like he is about to take his first math test.

“I would have had a guaranteed failure (…). It is clear that the dropout rate will be immense. “I, a strong, hard-working and persistent student, have already had to drop a course, so I can’t imagine anyone being less motivated,” he continues.

Lou Gabriel-Courval feels he has to teach himself the material since some of his teachers use online capsules. Distractions at home and computer problems also severely affect his concentration.

“How can we learn under these conditions? » he asks himself.

Left to yourself

When many have confided Newspaper that they felt on their own and would like more supervision, others have difficulty navigating the various platforms.

Teams, Zoom, Omnivox, BigBlueButton, Moodle, Google Classroom, Léa, Flipgrid, YouTube… The list of applications is enough to amaze the most organized.

“Online courses are really a mess. None of my teachers use the same platforms (…). It is really difficult to organize myself given the workload of my program, which is already very heavy,” explains Océane Bouret, a science student in the health profile at the Cégep Édouard-Montpetit in Longueuil, who juggles between seven courses.

“Then you have to remember where the code (to access the) Zoom conference is. On the lesson plan, in a private message, programmed on Omnivox. It’s literally the hunt for Zoom codes,” adds Sarah Lafond-Savary, a humanities student at Collège André-Grasset in Montreal.

Difficult integration

For those starting a new program, finding benchmarks is even more difficult because they have not had the opportunity to socialize with their colleagues during an integration day or course.

“Students feel overwhelmed by the abundance of instructions, new modalities, but also instructions that change from week to week,” emphasizes the president of the Quebec College Student Federation, Noémie Veilleux.

She wants institutions to prioritize in-person learning where possible to keep students safe and promote human contact.

  • The Quebec College Student Federation is working to standardize internal practices and is asking for access to training and tools to help young people understand software.

CEGEP teachers are out of breath

As care needs explode, college professors have less time and energy to care for their students because their responsibilities have increased, a group of teachers warns.

“Teachers are already out of breath and it is only mid-September,” complains Yves de Repentigny, vice-president and head of the CEGEP group of the National Federation of Teachers of Quebec (FNEEQ).

Most of them have already had to adapt their courses to be delivered remotely – or in small groups, multiple times or in person – and some have had to take larger groups due to the large capacity of online courses.

Reassure young people

Yet despite hours of additional corrections, teachers must respond to multiple emails, often to reassure their worried and anxious students.

“The first few weeks it was 35-40 (emails) a day. Just open it, read the message and reply, even if it's nothing complicated, an hour or two will pass. There will be no corrections or course preparation during this time,” explains Éric Kirouac, professor in the psychology department at CEGEP Garneau in Quebec.

The FNEEQ believes that group sizes should be reduced or even teachers in precarious situations should be assigned to look after young people in order to give teachers breathing room.

“The teaching conditions go hand in hand with the learning conditions,” continues Mr. de Repentigny.

You fall asleep in front of the computer

Geneviève Moreau, who has been a teacher for more than 20 years, preferred to offer her courses only remotely to avoid exposing her students to new changes in the event of a new containment.

Although these courses are more practical, the biology professor at Cégep du Vieux Montréal misses her classes.

Although she does her best to keep her students focused in front of her laptop, they respond very slowly during class with cameras turned off and microphones closed.

“It uses a lot of juice teaching on a laptop. (…) The reactivity and dynamism are not really there. That's not motivating, she explains. There are students who fall asleep in front of the computer because they have classes from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. »

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