Bradley University students have returned from spring break. But for the rest of the semester their classes will take place online.
Craig Curtis, a political science professor, said that presents a slew of new challenges for learning.
Curtis said he expects students will struggle with things like time management, focus, and adapting to unfamiliar programs and technology.
“I do anticipate there will be some students who will struggle with self-discipline,” he said. “They’ll miss deadlines because they don’t have to get up and go to class. There will be students who simply aren’t paying attention in the same way.”
That’s on top of issues like having consistent access to the internet, as well as a reliable computer.
Curtis said e-learning could prove especially challenging for international students who returned home.
"You can't really ask someone who has gone home to some place that's eight or ten time zones away to be awake in the middle of the night to meet a schedule for synchronized learning on Zoom,” he said, adding internet bandwidth may also be a challenge for those students.
Curtis said he has at least two students who went home to African countries. But he said it might be a more prevalent issue in departments like computer science or engineering.
Curtis said he’s most concerned with students’ mental and emotional state during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Some of the students are stressed by this — I mean seriously stressed,” he said. “This is a big disruption. They're unhappy, they're missing out on what they consider to be a significant part of their college experience — especially those that are graduating. Athletes who have trained so hard for competitions can’t do that.”
Curtis said just as the structure of students’ days is fundamentally different, so too are their support systems. He said limiting access to face-to-face contact will be a strain on many students, some of whom rely on university counseling services.
“There will be some students with underlying emotional issues who...this will trigger problems for them and they’ll struggle,” he said.
People like you value experienced, knowledgeable and award-winning journalism that covers meaningful stories in the Peoria area. To support more stories and interviews like this one, please consider making a contribution.