Learning in a New Place

Until spring break, I never fully appreciated how communication links to learning. Living and learning on campus, everything is how it should be. I go to class and we all discuss what we’ve learned for homework and how to move forward. Now that there’s a pandemic and classes have shut down, it becomes a little bit more difficult to learn, for a reason I never saw coming; a lack of mass communication.

Now, of course there is still communication. The professors will always have time to meet with the students and discuss any issues. In fact, this class has a two hour period to chat with the professor during the scheduled class hours, a help page to write to the professor for help, a fill-out sheet to request a one on one video chat with the professor, and ti’s willing to help as well. However, there is still a missing out on general communication with everybody. Being on campus, you can talk with other students outside of class, study together, even just try to further understand what was discussed in class. If somebody missed a day, they can still get notes from a friend in the class. Now, you can’t really do that.

Communication is central to learning, but it is central to everything else too. James Gleick compares the telegraph to biological wiring. He says “…comparing cables to nerves; the nation, or the whole earth, to the human body”. Without communication, there wouldn’t be life as we know it. Communication expanded society at a much quicker rate. Instead of multiple nations trying to come up with something while having minimal communication, most of that being a messenger that can take weeks to months to arrive somewhere, communication began to be almost immediate. Telegraph stations were set up everywhere to quicken the time it takes for information to spread. Then the telephone got involved, having a voice transmitted across the world within a second like it’s nothing. Gleick describes this as ‘…begin to turn society, for the first time, into something like a coherent organism”. People can work together on the same projects around the world, at the same time, at a pace they’ve never been able to before.

Now that I am stuck with remote learning, it becomes difficult for me to learn, because i cannot communicate with everybody in a real time, class setting. I would love to join the scheduled class time video sessions, but unfortunately I have to work during the week now that I am home. It is not only this class that has gotten more difficult. Every class requires a scheduled class time because communication is a key to learning, so every class is becoming more challenging to learn in. However, every obstacle is something that can and should be overcome. We are still learning how to adapt to remote learning, but the more we do it, the more we find a way or a time to communicate with the right people, and still get the information that is needed to pass the class. After all, we have real time communication methods that are way more advanced than the telegraph.

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