Learning in the time of the coronavirus

by: Erick Carrión & Sebastian Guevara

Make a Miracle recently interviewed these two college scholarship students about their transition from traditional college classes to online learning.


HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT STUDYING ONLINE?

This has been a bit of a strange experience. Last year I took virtual college classes twice a month. Now I do it daily, and, to be honest, despite of being weird, I kind of like it. The interaction with the teachers is better, because you force yourself to have a connection and that's a good thing. I cannot speak for everyone, but I am doing well studying online. I made a weekly schedule of everything I must do before, during, and after online classes in these quarantine times. It is important to be mature and to take things seriously because it is about your studies and also your personal life.


HOW DOES THE INTERNET INFLUENCE YOUR WAY OF LEARNING?

If you do not have a fairly internet connection, taking virtual classes will be very difficult because there is no fluent communication with the teachers. The call can suddenly finish which affects you because you lose minutes where the teacher may be talking about very important subjects on the course. It is even more serious if you do not even have internet, since even the alternative of using cellular data is so expensive. Not having a computer or a laptop is also a potential problem because doing your assignments on your cell phone is very complicated.


If you really want to study online, you can usually figure it out. Perhaps you can borrow a phone from your Mom or Dad for a couple hours to attend the class using two screens. If you are not studying at a university or institute, there are thousands of courses with many academic subjects on the internet which are free. In the end, if you want to study, the obstacles shouldn’t matter, you will find a way to do it. We can always help the students who are not able to study from home by answering their questions while chatting on Messenger, or teaching them things for school assignments. For example, a few days ago I helped a small girl from Juan Pablo (near Star kids) with her math homework. I even took the time to record my screen and send her the video so that she could understand it in a simpler way. The video lasted 23 minutes and, happily, she got it. The quarantine is tentatively scheduled to last until June 30, and we don’t know when we will be able to return to college classes. This would mean having students gathered within a closed space, which could cause infections to rises. Even people who are careful get infected. For this reason, online learning could last until 2021.


HAVE YOU LEARNED ANYTHING NEW IN THIS QUARANTINE TIME?

Well, it depends on the student, but many people are learning to make videos and edit them. Some friends of mine learned how to cook and bake. Personally speaking, I have learned some German phrases and how to edit videos. In these times, we need better organizational skills because we still have some things to do at home and our virtual classes don’t have the same timetable as before. Using online calendars can help you stop procrastinating, organize your life, and stop feeling frustrated. This quarantine has helped many of us learn some skills we didn’t know we had.


HOW ARE YOU HELPING OTHERS DURING THIS QUARANTINE TIME?

In the past, we were very thankful to be able to help people by building houses, being a part of Star Kids or having meetings at Casa Milagros, but everything changed a lot with the quarantine. In my case, I'm helping some friends with English homework, which is the only help I can give right now because I'm a bit frightened of going out, even though I am wearing mask. One positive thing I can see in my community, is that some market vendors bring vegetables and fruits to our local playground to avoid spreading the virus. This helps people who are frightened to go to the market as well as vendors who prefer to sell in an uncrowded, open air space. I miss my fellow Make a Miracle students, and stay in touch through Zoom and playing games together virtually. I can't wait to get back to the days where I cook for them and spend time together at the study center.


Erick & Sebastian are Make a Miracle scholarship students that are currently studying online.

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