Students continue to struggle learning online and feel the end getting further out of sight

By: Gracynn DesChamps

In her two years at Red River College Polytechnic, Andrea Cove has yet to attend a class in person. She said she’s had to change the way she studies and it’s been difficult to adjust.

“It is challenging, but it has been a good experience,” said Cove, a Business Administration student.

The college has been using Microsoft Teams to deliver classes since March 2020. 

While most of the technical difficulties that hindered students early on in the pandemic have been sorted out, the struggle to produce quality work in an efficient manner still remains.

Cove enjoys the convenience of online learning, but has difficulty staying motivated. She said she has no separation between her workspace and relaxing space.

“Having my workspace in my room can cause my productivity to be low many times,” said Cove.

Andrea Cove works at the Exchange District campus for the first time./GRACYNN DESCHAMPS

She’s not alone.

Twenty-seven RRC Polytechnic students and staff are enrolled in Building Habits for Success, a wellness workshop series.

The workshop is taught by Daniel Saltel, an instructor for applied computer education at RRC Polytechnic. It’s designed to teach students and staff effective strategies to maintain wellness habits. 

“The approach I want to take with the workshop is to help people manage their whole day,” said Saltel.

Most workshops do this by provoking people to manage their behaviour for only a few minutes a day. But Saltel wants students to create habits that will cause meaningful change over time. 

His goal is to help participants create a daily wellness routine that will work for them. 

“If you’re feeling better, you’ll do better work,” said Saltel. “If you’re not feeling right, that means either change the way you think about things or change what you’re doing.”

Saltel said creating these wellness habits is a big step towards students’ success, but they are pointless if students aren’t motivated to maintain them. 

Participants have begun using discussion boards to hold each other accountable.

For Cove, the social void left by in-person classes is the worst part of online learning. 

“I want to create stronger relationships with my friends and peers in face-to-face interactions,” she said.

RRC Polytech is scheduling some in-person classes for the winter term, but Cove said she isn’t keeping her hopes up.