Students adjust to e-learning at home

This is a photo of a student working on her Chromebook.

Erik Johnson

Students have adjusted to e-learning at home during the Covid-19 stay-at-home order.

Due to the spread of Covid-19 and a state-wide stay-at-home order, District 128 implemented electronic learning. Classes are now all online as students and teachers work from their homes.

Students check in every morning at 9 a.m. and all assignments should be completed by the next school day or later, as requested by the teacher.

According to the D128 e-learning plan, each class’s daily assignment should take students 30-40 minutes to complete. For example, if a student is taking seven classes, they would have 3.5 to 5 hours of work each day. In a survey of 155 students, 33% said it takes them 3-4 hours and 30% said it takes 5 or more hours to complete all their work each day. Only 12% said 1-2 hours.

E-learning has impacted students’ motivation. In the survey, most students, 53%, rated their level of motivation to complete work on a regular school day (not e-learning) as a 4 out of 5, with 1 being the lowest motivation and 5 being the highest.

When asked to rate their motivation for completing e-learning assignments, the majority of students gave themselves a 2 or 3. 72% of students were in the 1-3 motivation level range, and only 25% gave themselves a 4 or a 5.

It’s clear that students feel more motivated on a regular school day. When observing students’ feedback from the survey on the cons of e-learning, the most common dilemma is not being able to see teachers and friends.

Shayna Weinstein (10) said that during e-learning, “you don’t get the extent of help that you would get during school.” She further explained that e-learning is less hands-on than the work students are assigned during regular school days.

Assessments, such as quizzes, can still occur during e-learning. Megan Geltner, a geometry and algebra teacher, has given students quizzes. In order to put some restraints on the assessment, she set a time limit of 45 minutes in Math XL. Another quiz Geltner conducted was through Google forms, which can block students from opening other tabs.

When it comes to integrity, Geltner said she tries not to obsess over it. She said, “I haven’t seen any issues with cheating, but I just can’t get obsessed with it, because there’s just only so much I can do from afar.”

Since students have been working from home, they are the ones who need to make sure they understand the topics and reach out to teachers if they have questions.

Jianna Raven Buque (11) said, “it’s a lot more responsibility on the student, I believe, to really be in charge of their learning.”

However, she added that this can benefit students and create an opportunity for them to learn more about themselves and adopt good studying habits.

With a disruption to regular classes and to accommodate students who are learning from home for the rest of the year, the College Board has made AP exams available to take at home.

Each exam will be 45 minutes in length, but students will need to log in 30 minutes in advance to set up, and there will be a 5 minute timeframe to upload the exam.

The exam will cover only topics covered in class up to early March. While a few teachers are continuing with the curriculum, others have started reviewing for the exam.

Buque said that her AP Literature teacher is finishing a class project that was already scheduled and also providing AP exam preparation. She said the teacher has also recommended watching the official College Board exam review videos on YouTube.

That being said, 62.5% of students who took the survey said they prefer teachers start reviewing for the exam, while 20% said they think it’s important to continue with the already planned curriculum and 17.5% said they are unsure.