Online learning students' new normal

With schools and university gates shut and students forced to stay home, there is a new normal that students throughout the country are having to get used to.

Online learning has never been so popular as schools and students scramble to find a way to continue their educational journey amidst the state of emergency (S.O.E.) lockdown.

For students at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.), their new best friend is a platform called "Moodle", which enables students to take online classes. 

But not everyone has warmed up to the idea. Online schooling has received mixed reactions from people across the country and a few students have shared their experience so far. 

Faith Lam of Alafua, who studies agriculture at the N.U.S., laments the fact that even though online schooling promotes social distancing, her field focuses more on practical work outside the classroom.

"Online school depends on what subject you take," she said. "For agriculture students its very hard for us because our subject is based on stuff we do outside of the classroom such as practicals."

But she says there are benefits with that mode of learning.

"Some advantages is that we can submit our assignments from home and even if you aren't in school you can ask questions directly to the teacher through moodle. The teachers are really responsive."

She added that online schooling keeps them at home and safe from the COVID-19 threat.

"The use of online schooling promotes social distancing which is really needed due to the threat of the Coronavirus, so the use of this platform keeps us safe," she said.

Florida Wilson Smith, of Toamua, is also a student at the N.U.S.

A sociology students, she is pleased with the online learning platform.

"Online classes have been pretty amazing these past few days," Ms. Smith said.

She expressed that this is the first time most students have studied online but she wishes that this method will also be available in the future.

"I know its our first time but to me I wish this aspect will continue in the future. We all know that technology has long been introduced to our society so to me we shouldn't panic at all because I am sure every university student has cellphones and other needed essentials so we should all have confidence in our online classes," she said.

She further stated that the use of online schooling has been a great improvement at the National University of Samoa.

"The good part of online classes is that we get updates with our lessons so I think this is an improvement in our university's standards," she said.

Due to the fact that students needed time to move from a physical classroom to a virtual one, she stated that there are ways to solve these issue as the needed resources are available.

"I heard a lot of complaining from the students concerning online classes and I am sure there is a way to solve these problems. We already have the resources we need but the problem is, we took it for granted. We rather complain than do our job so therefore I believe if we work today and do our job according to your level, I am sure everything will be easy," she added.

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