MC Students and Professors Adjust to Online Instruction

With classes not meeting in person for the remainder of the semester, students and professors are continuing to make the best of a situation they were not prepared for.

Aiesha Solomon, Senior Editor

While many students of Montgomery College’s Rockville campus agree closing school before and after spring break was a great decision, some of those same students question the effectiveness of online learning.

Many students are wary of remote learning because they did not have experience with online classes. Some professors were also unprepared to teach online.

Professor Primosch from the Political Science Department at MC Rockville said during a POLI101 class, it’s not only the students getting used to this new system. The professors are learning as they go, especially if they usually teach in a lecture and in-person type structure.

To better prepare students and teachers for this new system, DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College in Rockville, said in an email on March 25, that the school donated 300+ laptops to students and faculty so they can work from home.

Even though many people in MC were unprepared for this situation, there were multiple options for online learning. Many of them had video chat with audio, to push communication between student and professor.

General Studies Major, Miranda Taylor, said, Montgomery College made a great decision to close all the campuses since cases are increasing in the area, but she knows online classes will bring their own issues to people who are not used to them, herself included.

Carolina Valerio, in the Social Science, Administration, and Health Core program said no one in the population of MC was prepared for the change.

Despite some of the frustrations with online learning, many students believe that the shift did not happen soon enough.

“I think they should have done it a little bit earlier” said Andrew Cormier, who is in the MC Business program. “…because from what I remember hearing, the first reported cases in our area were from Rockville,”

Angelica Akuchie, of the Computer Science and Technology Program, agreed that the action was late because MC only acted after more people were getting sick in Rockville and on campus.

While students could no longer attend lectures on campus, teachers have stepped up along with the faculty to create a way for students to learn online. Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate, and Google Hangout are great examples.

With all of these online teaching options remote learning is possible, but not without technical difficulties. Blackboard Collaborate is a platform some instructors have used with difficulty. Many teachers and students using this for the first time find it complicated.

“The ‘launch’ function required 2-3 steps and did not work seamlessly.” Professor William Primosch said, “I was worried students might also have problems…”

He specified a time where a student complained one of their other professors was having multiple issues with Blackboard Collaborate and it took away from class time. It was more of a distraction than a learning tool.

“I would take Zoom over Blackboard any day…” Schekinah Tabuku-Kisata in the International Studies, Arts and Sciences program said, “in Zoom I can see my professor and get answers right away instead of just looking at a screen and taking notes.”

There are other professors that find both of these options complicated and would rather not use them at all.

Some faculty in his department avoid these applications altogether and just include voice-overs in their PowerPoints or post lectures on YouTube, said Joe Stumpf, Chair of the History and Political Science department at Rockville,

As Nina Poli, who’s earning her Business degree said, online classes are the best option, students simply need to communicate with their professors to understand the rest of the course.