Survey holds more esteem with the forced online learning in this Fall semester

By: Emily Sinclair

Last fall, Canadian post-secondary students flooded school hallways. This fall term, most of them are seated in virtual classrooms connecting with classmates and instructors through their laptop screens.

On Oct. 20, Red River College sent out their annual mid-term survey to check in on students’ mental health and their opinions on this school year. The survey took approximately five to ten minutes, and it included an area at the end for students to share general thoughts.

Sarah MacDonald, a third-year student in RRC’s Business Administration program, said she thought the survey asked sufficient and relevant questions.

“It touched on a lot of stuff that I think students are struggling with currently,” she said. “This school year compared to last year is definitely a lot more difficult and confusing.” 

The survey asked students about their Wi-Fi connections, motivation levels, work efficiency, and their general thoughts on course delivery this fall term. These are among many issues students say they have been experiencing since RRC switched their programs and services online in March.

Evrytt Foy, a second-year student in RRC’s Business Administration program, said his motivation and mental health are declining.

“Last year was a walk in the park compared to this,” he said. “Communicating with instructors has been confusing and chaotic.”

But depending on the student, their challenges vary in type and degree.

“I think my instructors are doing well to adapt and accommodate students in this weird, interesting time,” said Nicholas Foy, a third-year Business Information Technology student. “The college asked good, relatable questions that they can use for useful feedback about how the term is going.”

He said he doesn’t feel as overwhelmed this year because remote learning gives him more free time and allows him to work more efficiently. 

An email from RRC Vice-President, Academic Dr. Christine Watsonthe says the survey lets the college know how they can improve student experience this year.

“Now that the fall term is underway, we want to check in and see how you’re doing,” Watson wrote to students. “While studying in this way may have its benefits, I know it may also have its challenges, both academically and personally.”

Dr. Watson said in a separate email there will be little to no change in course delivery next term.