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Let’s go digital!: How are students dealing with online classes?

“The only problem na nakikita ko so far ay ‘yung mga students na walang stable internet connection and ‘yung mga kulang ‘yung technological resources.”

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The Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) went way beyond everyone’s expectations, with its effects hampering almost every part of our lives. Among the severely affected by this pandemic are students and teachers with classes in Metro Manila now suspended until April 14. With this, some schools including UST have now shifted to online classes.

Since everyone is now encouraged to avoid mass gatherings and public places, this results in being stuck in their homes. But for Thomasians, it’s not just being stuck in their homes, but being inside the digital, online classroom! In our recent #TalkOnTW discussion, students raised their thoughts and concerns in how their one-week online classes go. 

Among the major concerns of students is the poor internet connection in some areas, especially that many are now in their provinces. This affects the audio and quality in live video discussions of professors, and worse, website crashes during online quizzes. Not everyone has access to a reliable internet connection, and some still need to go to computer shops or establishments with WiFi connections to attend online classes. Twitter users @vampy_avy, @d_ddana and @liaaahfrancesca shared their experience on this.

“The only [problem] na nakikita ko so far ay ung mga students na walang stable internet connection and [‘yung] mga kulang [‘yung] technological resources.”

“First online class ko, sa isang coffee shop ako tumambay kasi wala kaming wifi sa bahay. […] Para sa subject na ‘yun medyo keri naman kasi simulation lang naman sa isang software so madali ipakita sa screen kaso may kahirapan pa rin kasi naglalag yung video tapos audio is choppy.”

 “[To be honest], hindi siya ganun ka-effective ngayon at madalas magkaroon ng problema sa [B]lackboard especially sa online quizzes dahil biglang nagc-crash.”

Distractions are just some of the enemies of students in studying. If distractions can plague students inside classrooms, what more if they are studying in their house; in their own rooms! Twitter user @olgamavidaaa also said that pre-recorded video discussions would be a great help in addressing internet connection problems and to better facilitate students’ learning.

“Ang hirap pag madaming distractions while nagdidiscuss. Plus mas maganda sana if pre-recorded nalang ‘yung discussions, considering na ‘di lahat mabilis yung internet connection.”

The conduct of online classes is a thrill and a struggle. Twitter users @GuhitJose, @munizrichard_, and @joellenenene suggest that teachers should focus more on delivering lectures and discussions, whether on live video chat or through pre-recorded videos to better help students understand lessons.

“Hi, [I] think kailangan mag-focus ng mga prof namin sa lecture hindi sa pagbibigay ng worksheet or anything kasi gawa lang kami nang gawa wala kaming natututunan hehehe suggestion lang.”

“Mas magiging effective if recorded [and] downloadable ‘yung mga discussions para mareview ulit again and again.”

“I just think it’s unfair na araw-araw may output […] ‘di naman ganon ‘pag may regular class [ta’s] ‘yung iba puro pagawa lang wala namang paramdam wala ring turo so pa’no nalang[?]”

For Twitter user @jxntxp, the struggle in online classes is not only on the learning part but also physically especially for people with medical conditions like astigmatism and frequent headaches. 

“As a person who has a high myopia and astigmatism, [I] have frequent headaches after almost 8-10 hrs/day of staring in front of my gadgets.”

Online classes also pose challenges not just on weak internet connections, but also on how to properly submit and consult professors. @marcvalmoriaa, a fine arts student, asks how they can submit and consult regarding their plates. 

“Pa’no ako magpapaconsult/submit ng plate[?]”

In the traditional face-to-face classes, students and teachers alike cannot avoid unrelated talks. Which is why Twitter user @gjcco sees online classes as fun and more interactive with less unnecessary chit chats.

“Weird pero mas natuto ako […] and mas interactive ang recit [recitation] in online classes instead [and] nababawasan [d]in unnecessary info ng prof dito.”

But still, our teachers’ efforts despite the struggle brought by the COVID-19 pandemic are still commendable. The weak internet connection did not hamper them to deliver the lessons and provide a fun, wholesome learning environment inside the digital classroom.

“Kudos sa mga teachers na nagtuturo pa rin despite the unstable connection!” Twitter user @rxcangeles said. 

“One word: stressful. […] But our professors made sure that still, it would be a conducive learning environment as much as possible for us and that it would cater to our needs as students!” @zimzalabrm said.

 “…[S]houtout to our profs who are understanding, considerate, and nage-exert ng effort kasi naiintindihan nila kung gano kahirap mag adjust yung lahat. […] Sana po gayahin kayo ng iba,” @bluebeyrries said.

Maybe everyone in the world is now battling against the coronavirus. Our struggles as students brought by this pandemic are just some of the challenges which plague the whole world right now. Outside our digital classrooms, people face bigger problems—from lack of medical support to loss of livelihood. At the end of the day, staying united and vigilant amid this global crisis will make us defeat this pandemic.

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#SONA2020: Netizens react to this year’s state of the nation address

“A waste! Sayang oras ko. Sayang oras ng bansa sa kanya.”

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DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect that of TomasinoWeb, its members, its officers, and the University.

Every year, the president is tasked to deliver a speech at the Batasang Pambansa Complex to address the country on its whereabouts and the government’s plans for it in the near future. Despite the ravaging situation of the Philippines due to the pandemic, President Rodrigo Duterte insisted not breaking tradition to speak at the hall with few guests from the government and the administration itself. The president spoke about numerous topics. A few to mention are human rights, COVID-19, child labor, ABS-CBN, and the Build, Build, Build Program. While the president is expected to talk about his administration’s achievements from the past year, he failed to disclose this important part in this address yesterday to which where he promised to release a printed report of it soon.

Duterte’s speech yesterday received backlash because of the lack of substantive resolutions and updates to reassure the Philippines of its state and how the administration will lead the country in the following years to come. 

As of July 26, the Philippines has 83,000 known confirmed cases with 1,1974 deaths and 26,617 recoveries.

Yesterday, TomasinoWeb asked Thomasian netizens on their thoughts about this year’s State of the Nation Address. 

“NO THOUGHTS, JUST PURE RAGE & DISGUST”

“INSENSIBLE to the true state of our nation!
#TalkOnTW

“no concrete plans again. we shouldn’t call it SONA because of the fact it is his state of his own damn ego and for self serving interest only + impunity and authoritarianism.
he should resign or the masses shall overthrow him and his government???
#WAKASONA2020
#SONAgkaisa2020

“yet another show of incompetency from our dear president.”

“A waste! Sayang oras ko. Sayang oras ng bansa sa kanya.”

“IS THIS SONA OR YOUR ELECTION CAMPAIGN FOR YOUR ALLIES???!!!
GAHD!!!”

While Duterte’s address failed to properly address the pressing issues in the Philippines, one must never forget to hold its officials accountable for their performance in handling the pandemic and among issues that coexist with it. Filipinos need and will continuously demand concrete plans, actions, and leadership from those who govern their country. The fight from the pandemic, human rights, and all other issues the country faces will continue until they get to what they are promised and what they truly deserve.

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#TalkOnTW: Students decide if they will enroll for an online term

“The world is in literal shambles right now and yet students are still academically pressured by their schools to function and adapt to this ‘new normal’.”

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The Office of the Rector recently released a memorandum announcing that the first term of AY 2020-2021 will be facilitated through “online and offline learning strategies”. The discussion of enrollment for the upcoming academic year has been a buzz among students, most especially because of the decision of the University to push forward with the Institutional Community Plan despite the contentions of those who belong in the Thomasian community. 

The topic of enrollment has been quite a topic among students not only within the University but also from those who belong in other academic institutions. While developing online-learning strategies has been the goal of the University, it is difficult to ignore that online learning does not serve all students that well. This issue does not only encompass the availability of a steady internet connection and a ready device to do work that we need to accomplish. It also adds the fact that not all students will be able to continue their education because of different reasons such as: financial status, health, and the lack of an optimal work environment from home.

With this, we asked students through the recent #TalkOnTW if they will still enroll for AY 2020-2021.

Twitter user @Strangel101 shared her initial thoughts on the “pressure” of academic institutions to adapt with the “new normal”.

The world is in literal shambles right now and yet students are still academically pressured by their schools to function and adapt to this ‘new normal’ 

Nakakalungkot na ang daming mapipilitang magLOA just because they were financially/physically/psychologically affected”

With the struggles that students and their families face in the pandemic, many are stuck with the dilemma if they should continue with AY 2020-2021. Twitter users @olyver_ly and @marcavalmoriaa shared propositions on the pressure in enrolling for  the upcoming academic year. 

“there are 2 options: (a) mag-eenroll but we cant have a quality education. (b) dont enroll and there’s academic/peer pressure.

we hate the fact that we are all victims of this ccf education system.”

Pag nag enroll wala nanaman matututunan, pag di nag enroll hassle yung process pag gap year”

On the other hand, some students such as Twitter user @dulce_pomme decided not to enroll for the next academic year but as pronounced of feelings of guilt because of the lengthy journey to reach an important milestone.

my dad told me na wag na lang pero kasi, as first batch na rin ng k12, feeling ko sobrang natagalan na ako sa pag aaral tapos panganay pa ako?? so the guilt na walang maipagmalaki parents ko :(“

Meanwhile, students are given unduly pressure from their families and their peers if they should enroll because of the fear of getting “left behind”. Twitter users @jxntxp, @fyabby, @gjcco, and @asi1892 share their experiences.

My family wants me to enroll despite explaining that I have 3 laboratory subjects that will be difficult to learn online.

The only thing they said was “Hindi ka pwedeng madelay.””

di talaga effective sakin online classes pero natatakot naman akong maiwanan ng batchmates ko :////”

my parents and i think that i shouldnt enroll cuz of health reasons, lack of funds and resources, and the many problems of distance learning… but u kno they also have this fear of me getting delayed #TalkOnTW

I am still weighing the pros and cons of enrolling for online classes. I don’t want to waste my parents’ money if I can’t guarantee the quality education. :<”

Twitter user @YouRONElyONE shared his thoughts on the learning environment for law students in light of this pandemic. 

“An Online Term for Law School is not conducive for learning…

Many of us law students experienced a waste of a good semester with online activities given for compliance sake, not for learning at all.

If this keeps up, damn the Bar exams would be at high stakes.

#TalkOnTW

Enrolling for an online term is still a pressing issue despite the efforts of the University administration to get the Thomasian community aboard in online learning. Students have reiterated over time again and again that there are issues to be fixed that obviously go beyond a steady internet connection and stable devices. An online term is a challenge not only the University will face but the Philippines’ education system as well.

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#TalkOnTW: Students share their thoughts on online classes

“Wala akong natututunan. Fortunate ako nang kahit paano. Nakikisama internet namin at mga devices na ginagamit ko. Nagpapasa ako ng output kasi required, di dahil natututo ako.”

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DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect that of TomasinoWeb, its members, its officers, and the University.

It’s been more than a month since the last time Thomasians were on the campus. Many were surprised over the week-long suspension of classes and office work. In its first glance, it could be seen as a week for relaxation instead of an impending drastic change in our daily lives. With the enhanced community quarantine, many are stuck in their homes as they wait for time to pass by. 

Some universities in Metro Manila such as the Ateneo de Manila University have shortened their semesters to conclude the academic year in light of the pandemic.

While some universities have decided to shorten the academic year, the University’s administration has decided to push forward with the second term through online learning as mentioned in its Institutional Continuity Plan. This decision received backlash from the Thomasian community because of the varied reasons from limited internet access, ineffective learning, to the lack of resources to finish academic requirements. 

Yesterday, we asked Thomasian netizens in the recent #TalkOnTW on their learning experiences and areas that need improvement in online classes. Twitter users @strezztab_, @_leeseril, @_euniem, @wweeiiin, and @wyaaaan14 share their thoughts on how online classes are only conducted for the ‘sake of compliance’. 

“not effective at all. students are sent lots of “learning materials” but are not actually learning. we’re merely complying to the requirements just to pass and that’s the sad truth.”

It’s just a matter of compliance now more than anything else.

I rest my case.”

feels like we r just complying with reqs for the sake of grades. i hope learning materials will be given soon and summative tasks will be discussed din and sana feasible + more coordination with profs and yun us2 q lang naman matuto :(((“

we aren’t learning anything. it’s now only a matter of complying and meeting deadlines if you can.

the fact that nearly all the retweets are like this should tell you that something isn’t right.”

“Wala akong natututunan. Fortunate akong kahit paano nakikisama internet namin at mga devices na ginagamit ko. Nagpapasa ako ng output kasi required, di dahil natututo ako. 

Di rin pala fit yung environment para makapag-aral ako nang payapa at maayos.”

Students are not the only ones who are struggling but their professors as well. Twitter user @great_fayerhaps mentioned that some of her professors ‘aren’t equipped for online classes’. Twitter user @gjcco shares the same sentiment on the delay of their classes because the learning materials provided by their professor were not presently available. 

some professors aren’t equipped for online classes too, so i guess #MassPromotionNow

prof couldnt retrieve his teaching items from his condo due to lockdown so lessons were heavily impeded and rlly wasnt conducive”

Additionally, Twitter user @muybiennn worries about the pace of one of his classes because he is unsure if the UST Cloud Campus would be properly utilized by their professor. 

hindi ata marunong gumamit ng blackboard theory prof namin huhu pls we’re so left behind :(( #MassPromotionNow

Professors are not the only ones who find difficulty in using Blackboard. This also includes students who encounter problems not only on the website but also on its mobile app. It is often visited in class hours which could contribute to the delay given the heavy traffic it receives. Twitter users @Ernest0249, @aichiiimae, and @carlrreon share their experiences. 

more than 10 mins po para lang buksan isang ppt jusq idk pero may problem ata tlaga cloud campus ksi oks naman device at connection ko….ilang beses ba nmin kailangan sabihin na di effective online classes?naglolokohan lang eh bigay reqs tapos exams na asan quality educ dun?”

EdTech should try to improve the Blackboard app for students using their mobile phones. The app only shows one material (ppt) at a time so the chats from the instructor does not stay. Quite inconvenient for students who has professors who are chatting their lessons.”

Bboard has been really slow. I can’t stream or download a video lecture without it timing out halfway through for a big. With a small file that takes seconds normally, takes 10 minutes max.

It’s not on my net, been stable all day long with Coursera and YouTube

#TalkOnTW

Some students like Twitter user @Ansayxx missed the chance to attend her online classes because of the delay.

Super bagal ng internet to the point na ayaw mag load ng bboard ko and hindi ako naka attend ng class”

While some were concerned about Blackboard, Twitter users @CityofYvette and @_RndmGuy_ shared their thoughts on the stack of deadlines they have on their plate.

walang “class” na naganap, tumaas lang anxiety ko dahil puro deadline ang nakita ko buong araw”

Ito ppt, ito requirements ninyo, ito deadline ninyo good luck”

While technology paves a way to make the possible impossible, we must keep in mind that not everybody is able to catch up immediately considering the struggles that each of us faces. Thomasians have spoken about their concerns especially on limited internet access, mental health issues, and the inconducive learning environment in their homes. This should already be an indicator that online classes won’t be able to serve students rightfully for many will be left behind. We must keep in mind to preserve the spirit and importance quality education. However, is it preserved well? That’s something the University should answer. 

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