Virtual learning in a global pandemic is a new experience for us all. Universities, teachers, and students are working together to find the best way to create effective learning environments.
For many students, virtual learning includes Zoom sessions with a class-like structure. In other cases, virtual learning for some is receiving information and assignments weekly from instructors.
As we get further into the semester the question rises, “Is it reasonable for teachers to assign group projects virtually?.” The answer is no.
Group projects were already hard enough before we had a pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, you faced the normal problems such as scheduling issues, personality conflicts, and people not pulling their weight. Now the issue has expanded to people not having a full understanding or even the disability due to physical or mental illness.
According to www.bestcollegesonline.org, students have a lot of misconceptions about online courses. Many think that online classes are easier than classes taken in the classroom.
“Some students fail online college courses because they don’t know what to expect,” said Best Colleges.
If students are already confused about what to expect and do in the course, adding a group project will only increase the confusion. Clear and concise instructions from the teacher might help to aid this problem but there is always the possibility that each student will interpret the directions differently.
The biggest concern from students is that there will be scheduling issues and that there will be problems with things they can’t control such as group members’ wifi.
The perspective of sophomore pre-nursing major Tyrik Anderson is that “It is unreasonable for teachers to assign group projects because coordinating a time and place for everyone to meet is already hard enough, but now we’re expected to meet during a pandemic where our health is at risk.”
Anderson shares that he believes the hardest part would be coordinating because not everyone has access to the Internet all the time.
Amiya Bowers, a second-year psychology major says, “The hardest part about doing virtual group projects is the initial communication and establishment of roles amongst the group.”
Out-of-state student Maya Solomon shares that in addition to students not being able to get together face to face to discuss ideas, it’s also hard to share materials while virtual and people may not have the resources they need outside of class. She thinks that this could cause other people’s grades to suffer.
“I think the hardest thing would be getting everyone in the same time frame,” said Solomon. “I live in Detroit but I know other out-of-state students that live in different time zones, this is something that I don’t think professors are thinking about.”
For the majority of the year, the country has been dealing with understanding and learning new things about Covid-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have informed us that the symptoms of the Coronavirus include: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, and other symptoms.
If a student was diagnosed and experiencing these symptoms regular classwork alone would become difficult so trying to complete a group project is completely out of the question.
As of now, teachers shouldn’t even think about assigning group projects and to do so would be inconsiderate to what the country is dealing with.