E-learning leads to extra time burdens on staff, students

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Headed for a burnout

COVID-19 has resulted in a lot of changes, but one of the biggest that many students and workers have noted is the increased workload of many classes. This stems from the fact that many profs, in adjusting to an online course, have added an increased number of assignments and duties for students.

For many classes, forum posts have been added, requiring detailed and well thought out responses to questions, in order to get participation marks. An English student remarked, “several courses that previously would’ve just been in class with consistent readings and classroom participation are now expecting the same thing in addition to classly [sic] or weekly forum postings.” Previously those same marks could be obtained just from interacting within a class space. Instead they are being put on a forum, requiring students to give up more of their spare time to finish these pieces of work. Some classes are seeing their time burdens increase more than others. One film student at the University of Regina who would prefer not be named pointed out that they’re now expected to watch films on their own time. “I have to do screenings on my own now because we would usually watch them in class, but we still have our 2-3 hour lectures.”

One education student noted the same thing, and their teacher justified it by saying students, “all have so much free time without the commute.” [Editor’s note: we all live in Los Angeles.]

For many students, just because COVID means they are spending less time out, that doesn’t mean they are less busy. Many students are having to take on one or more additional part time jobs in order to help make up for the money they didn’t make over the summer due to COVID removing many students’ full-time summer jobs.

And it isn’t just teachers taking advantage of students during this time, employers too are taking advantage. “My boss pressures me into taking extra shifts, saying ‘you’re not doing anything else anyway.’ They just assume because COVID has largely confined me to my home that I don’t have anything else better to do than work.”

As a result, many students are saying they are more stressed out than they have been in years prior, and despite the fact they are not leaving the house as much as they used to, they are in many cases busier than ever.

While COVID is a difficult time, and many teachers have resorted to things like forums as a way to keep students engaged, it is important to recognize this is a particularly stressful and busy time. Professors and employers should be mindful that students are attempting to adapt as well as teachers, and too much all at once is leaving all too many students feeling overwhelmed. 

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