Zooming through Second Semester: Niles West Students & Remote Learning

Zooming through Second Semester: Niles West Students & Remote Learning

By Gia Bexes, Staff Writer

Lights, cameras on, action. Time to get up and join your first period class on Zoom for the start of second semester.

This probably isn’t how any of us expected to begin the new semester, but we are set to return to in-person instruction on Thursday, Jan. 13. While some students dread Zoom, others find it an easier, more manageable way to learn. With that said, let’s look at Niles West students’ experiences regarding remote learning.

Preparing for online school and in person school is different. Students mentioned that sleeping more and having more time to do work were some pros of online learning.

“I love being able to sleep a little longer, and being able to eat fresh food while I’m at home,” senior Stella Frake said.

Freshman Maddie Glomb agreed. “I wake up five minutes before class starts and join my zoom call,” Glomb said.

Although these students enjoyed having more time to sleep, others felt burdened.

“The work in class somehow seems like more online than it is in-person for some of my classes,” sophomore Kayla Madrid said. “The only thing I would probably want to change if we had to stay online is to go back to a block schedule because the amount of time I have to stay on my computer is straining and tiring.”

Sophomore Alyssa Iusco felt differently. “The workload is pretty much the same, but teachers seem to be giving more class time to complete work when e-learning,” Iusco said.

But being on the computer all day long in addition to having more work can be tiring for students. For sophomore Stephanie Avram, being on the computer for several hours, one class after the other, can only be described as “long and draining.”

“Being at home is definitely nice because you can lay in bed, but it is better to be up and moving throughout the day,” Avram said.

The tight schedule was tiring for students, and some suggested changes if we were to return to remote learning.

“It makes me pretty tired, it’s a long day on zoom. I would definitely change the nine-period day schedule. I think a block schedule works better for remote learning,” sophomore Anna Lusson said.

Many students share this opinion.

“I think the block schedule would be very beneficial. Sitting on zoom for nine classes everyday is exhausting. I also think the breaks in between class should be longer as well,” Frake said.

Moreover, students feel it is hard to learn.

“It’s really easy to get distracted on zoom, and quizzes and tests are much harder. I miss seeing my friends,” sophomore Erik Neumayer said.

Like many other students, Frake also believes Zoom makes it difficult to enjoy and stay motivated in her classes.

“Remote learning is incredibly hard, especially for me because it is hard to learn by looking and hearing from a screen. It puts a large amount of stress on you,” sophomore Yousuf Zakeria said.

Another concern that was shared by many regarded having cameras on.

Prior to the start of this adaptive pause, an email was sent out to students from Niles West Dean Amy Tucker, stating, “Please make sure you have your cameras on via zoom for all classes, including homeroom. Imagine how it might feel if you were a teacher and all you could see were blank screens or names. If for some reason you cannot, please email your teachers directly letting them know the reason.”

Lusson, along with other students, didn’t mind this policy.

“I think the camera policies are totally reasonable. I felt really bad for teachers last year, and I think this year is better because there is more of a social aspect to zoom now,” Frake said.

“Personally, I understand why teachers want our cameras on. It makes sense [for] a live class, but having it off does make me feel more comfortable.” Avram said.

However, some students express that having cameras off allows them to focus better because they aren’t anxious about having their face shown on the screen.

“In my opinion, the camera policy is unnecessary. Many students, including myself, are not comfortable showing themselves online or showing their home online. The school should not have made cameras mandatory because it plays a part in why students do not want to come to class. If we do go remote again this year, cameras should be made optional for the students’ privacy and so they feel comfortable in the learning environment,” sophomore Emily Pham said.

Students had many perspectives on remote learning, on learning, turning on camera, the schedule and experience.

“Overall, I like e-learning because I have more breaks and more time to complete work.” Glomb said.