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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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#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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#TalkOnTW: Netizens react on the administration’s efficiency in handling COVID-19

“They had the chance to prevent the crisis from escalating further but no, their priority is misplaced somewhere else and not with their constituents. No would be an understatement.”

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Photo courtesy of The Summit Express

Netizens are on another level of frustration upon hearing President Duterte’s nation address last Monday, April 6, 2020. 

It has been two weeks since the Congress granted the President with temporary emergency powers to manage the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in the Philippines. Everyone was expecting that in the president’s second weekly report, he would clarify not only the details regarding the distribution of the emergency cash aid to low-income families, but also some other steps on handling the crisis. The productivity of his plans, however, was questioned by the people who actually took time to listen and exhaust the information from his usual tirade-filled speech. 

On the same night, TomasinoWeb’s #TalkOnTW series launched an online discussion on the efficiency of the administration’s health crisis master plan. Here are a few of the noteworthy opinions of Twitter netizens: 

“I don’t think so. Pag sinabi kasing efficiently something that is with competence eh. Pero ayun wala pa ring concrete plans. Sobrang scattered lahat. Maybe they’re trying pero hanggang kelan na ganito??” 

“Absolutely not. The most important questions have never been answered until now. Where’s the gov’t aid? What happened sa P276B? Why is everything delayed? Para saan pa yung extension ng ECQ kung hindi rin naman naha-handle nang mabuti yung sitwasyon.”

“They had the chance to prevent the crisis from escalating further but no their priority is misplaced somewhere else and not with their constituents. No would be an understatement.”

“obviously not, ilang address na ba ang binigay nya na halos wala tayong mapigang sagot mula sa kanya? pahirapan lahat. tapos ano? sa dulo, tayo ang kawawa. health crisis ang issue, bakit taliwas doon ang kanyang pinagsasabi. tama ba yun.” 

“This could’ve been prevented in the first place if they have banned China travelers. No. There is no sense of urgency for the Filipinos who need it the most.”

“To be honest, “no” is an understatement. This administration is consistent on one thing and one thing only: incompetence.”

Even with the passage of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act or the RA 11469, the essence of “bayanihan” can hardly be seen within the people governing the country. With the increasing number of COVID-related cases and deaths, some still had the time to consider this pandemic as a “competition.” Twitter user @timothy_casuga sees the need for unity during this crisis: 

“Absolutely not, if the government is working together, combined forces, instead of wars and [political] issues, we would move on with this health crisis, if not solved, more people would be affected. We need unity, not the issues rising from every person from the government.” 

The newest strain of the coronavirus has forced our citizens to face the fear of the unknown and to open questions about what will kill them first: the virus, the hunger, or the mismanagement of the government in combating the pandemic. Frankly, no one was ever ready to face this health crisis, but the lack of concrete plans of the government has once again questioned the capability and competence of our leaders. 

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#TalkOnTW: Students react to President Duterte’s recent media address

“Lethal force is not the answer neither is striking fear to the people. There are better ways but for some odd reason you fail to see even one. You basically condemned the Filipino people to their deaths at the hands of your soldiers and the virus.”

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Photo courtesy of Interaksyon

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

It’s almost two and a half weeks since President Rodrigo Roa Duterte imposed a quarantine on the National Capital Region following the entirety of Luzon. Ever since then, citizens were restricted from going outside their homes, giving only a few to go out to buy necessities to get by the following days. The enhanced community quarantine came along with numerous checkpoints and military personnel to instill discipline to the communities they were deployed to. Despite the enhanced community quarantine, the country’s frontliners – the doctors, nurses, store attendants, and journalists – continue to pave the way despite the struggles in the country today.

Ever since the Bayanihan to Heal Act as One Act (RA 11469) was signed by President Duterte, the country was placed under a state of emergency for three months unless extended. In this law, the president was granted to distribute P5,000 to P8,000 pesos in cash aid to low-income families, a special risk allowance to health workers, and to allow the president “to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared national policy”, and more.

Last night at 9:43PM, the president addressed the nation once more to reiterate the threats faced by the country today. With this, TomasinoWeb initiated a discussion that asks the peoples’ thoughts on his most recent media address.

One of the main highlights of the president’s media address was the threats that were posed towards the left. Many were angered towards his threats by ordering authorities to detain those who cause chaos and riots. Moreover, his address was observed to contain intimidation and fear towards the common people. Twitter users @tljdwln, @MigeruTagaki, @angelwithaliner, and @jayzielkhim share their thoughts towards the threats of the president. 

Nagulat ka na kasi biglaang presscon, nagalit ka pa kasi puro pagbabanta at karahasan yung lumalabas sa bibig nya”

The country is already in a pandemic then you would just say you will kill people who wouldn’t cooperate? Heartless and disgusting attitude. They are the less fortunate that is why they are like this. We should be helping them not killing them or arresting them…”

Kung gusto niyang mabigyan tayo ng reassurance, give factual reports. Saan napupunta ang budget, pwede na ba ang mass testing, ano na ang nangyari sa donasyon, atbp. Hindi natin kailangan ng ‘urgent’ press con kung pagbabanta lang pala ang sasabihin.”

kapag sa patayan napakabilis gumalaw ng gobyernong ‘to pero kapag pangangailangan ng mamamayan ayan naghuhulaan pa kung anong dapat gawin”

In his 12-minute speech, President Rodrigo Duterte failed to address what the people have been waiting for – updates and actions to be done in light of the pandemic. Twitter user @d_dddana mentioned that his speech instead contained reprimands without offering solutions towards the problem on-hand. 

“Nagulat ka na kasi biglaang presscon, nagalit ka pa kasi puro pagbabanta at karahasan yung lumalabas sa bibig nya”

Additionally, Twitter user @yopokkiseu mentioned that none of the press conferences actually served its purpose to brief and address the problems faced by the country in light of the pandemic.

“None the presscons showed any hint of handling the contagion with coordinated efforts to address the problems wt food security, public, mobility, jobs, medical services among the poorest, and to the concern of all, mass testing and lack of PPEs and funding for frontliners”

This is not the first time that the public has voiced out their opinions regarding the president’s leadership in this state of emergency. Twitter users @tipsyd_ei and @jolofernando have pointed out his incompetence and the use of threats as a compensation to show his power and might.

His words are loud and threatening but they contain empty concrete plans for the pandemic. He is simply INCOMPETENT. He can NEVER silence the people.#OUSTDUTERTENOW

This isnt about the pandemic anymore hes trying to silence the people from protesting his incompetent governance”

President Duterte’s leadership performance was also highlighted by netizens, expressing their frustration towards his neglect and his response to the struggles the country is facing today. For Twitter user @Barsieee, he said that the president does not care about his people especially the frontliners as evident with the blatant verbal harassment of those who are unsatisfied with his rule.

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