From Hybrid to Long Distance: Learning Requires Adjustment

An example of a student’s timetable with only two courses listed. Photo by Dian Sun.

Because students are attending class in different ways, virtually and in person, their learning experiences are different.

In order to adapt to the current situation of the epidemic, the Ontario Ministry of Education has made some responses and changes. Locally, with WRDSB, two educational programs are available to students: one is hybrid learning, where students alternate between attending class and learning from home for five days at a time, and the other is the Distance Learning Program, where students attend class from home the whole time.

Jiachen L.: Blended Learning Platform

Jiachen is in grade 12 at WCI, and he is taking a journalism course and grade 12 English, only half the number of courses he would normally take.

In Jiachen’s opinion, the current learning model is doing him more harm than good.

He says, “Now there are only two courses per quadmester, so the learning process is compressed. I can feel the fast pace of learning.”

This academic year is divided into four quad masters, and students need to finish two courses in about two and a half months.

“The class time is longer and the time for the lunch break has also been adjusted; this made me feel a little unaccustomed at first,” says Jiachen.

A lot of things have changed now. The students were dismissed an hour and forty minutes earlier than normal and they only have one course for the whole day. Under normal circumstances, students would be taking four different courses per day. Because students need to concentrate on one course, this can be a test for their ability to concentrate and learn.

Students in Jiachen’s journalism class participate in an online Google Meet with students at school and at home all logging in at the same time. Photo by Jiachen.

Students in Jiachen’s journalism class participate in an online Google Meet with students at school and at home all logging in at the same time. Photo by Jiachen.

Xinyi L.: Distance Learning Program

Xinyi takes online classes at home.

Fearing the spread and the infection of coronavirus, Xinyi L, who is a grade 12 student at WCI, chose to not attend school.

She says, “I’ve never tried this learning model before, but it feels good.”

Making a distance learning program available to students was a requirement by the Ontario Ministry of Education in an effort to accommodate concerns over the spread of COVID-19 and allow families to make a choice for themselves while still receiving an education.

This is a major initiative during the epidemic and provides convenience for students who are worried about the spread of the virus.

Xinyi also has this to say about the convenience of distance learning: “Online courses save my commute time and improve my study efficiency.”

For students in the Distance Learning Program. There is little difference between the school hours and those of the students at school.

“Because I have classes alone at home, without my classmates around me, the process of online class makes me feel more like listening to the teacher alone, which makes me feel very happy. I really like the atmosphere of listening to the class by myself.” she says

She says “there’s nothing bad about the timetable. I think it saves me a lot of time”

Chloe Z.: Online Classes in Different Time Zones

Chloe, who is a freshman at Rotman Commerce at the University of Toronto, chose to stay in China instead of returning to Canada when she learned that all her courses would be online. Taking online classes from Canada while living in China means she has a 12-hour time difference.

Chloe attends online class from a distance and in a different time zone.

“I do face some jet lag problems, but I just switch to evening classes, and I think it’s actually better for me to learn new knowledge when it’s still late at night,” Chloe says.

Chloe doesn’t think the current class mode has any bad influence on her. On the contrary, she still likes her routine very much.

Taylor W.: Online Class from a Different Time Zone

Taylor, who is a freshman at the University of British Columbia, chose to stay in China instead of returning to Canada when she learned that all her courses would be online.

Taylor attends school in BC while living in China.

She says, ”In fact, I really don’t like online courses. First, the campus of UBC is really beautiful, but it’s a pity that none of them can go there. Second, my major is stage design, and many courses require field operation. Now, due to online courses, many compulsory courses cannot be taken, which is a pity.”

Taylor’s reaction to online courses is different from Chloe and Xinyi.

“The online course with jet lag makes me feel tired, but it is still within my tolerance. Compared with some of my classmates who stay up all night and sleep no more than four hours, I think I am very lucky,” Taylor says.

In general, Taylor was disappointed with online classes, and she also thought that jet lag and other problems had some negative effects on her classes and work schedule.

Each school model has had to change to accommodate students and keep them safe. The adjustments in programming require students to make adjustments, too, even to different time zones.

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