Students share thoughts about distance learning


After two weeks of online learning due to COVID-19, students have mixed feelings on the new system. The administration recently announced the change from optional enrichment work to “pass/fail” assignments. As we move toward this new change, The Sagamore gauged student opinions on the current learning system.

We went out a poll on April 3 via Canvas. We had 253 respondents, and the data is summarized in the article.

Zoom or Google Meet calls up to this point have been optional, mandatory, or anywhere in between. As was the intention, most of the students who didn’t attend these calls didn’t do so because they were only for students who had questions, or needed assistance. But there were also students unable to attend due to the call having been poorly communicated, and various other time conflicts including calls in the morning when students are sleeping.

Students generally attended calls when they had questions, or if the call fit in with their daily plans. Mandatory calls were attended by more students.

The majority of students who have not been completing work right now have not been doing so because schoolwork isn’t the most important thing on their minds, but instead because many have needed to focus on their mental health. Many students have found it hard to find motivation to do work, have found the work overwhelming, or have just been uncompelled to do work that feels like optional busy-work.

Generally, work for Advanced Placement (AP) classes, easy work and “not-busy-work” have been the most enjoyable and straightforward for students to complete.

Many students said that they would do more work if it were for a grade, or if it were more relevant and interesting. The lack of incentive to complete work will be changing as the high school formally moves to graded assignments that count toward the final grade. Students also requested less total work, more time to do the work, and all around better clarity and consolidation in communication about work assigned. A number of students felt confused about the work being assigned, and many as well felt that that confusion was coming in the way of them completing all of their work.

A main trend throughout the data gathered was a desire for a single communication platform across all teachers and classes. Out of Canvas messages, Canvas notifications, and email, Canvas messages took the lead among student preference, although students felt more strongly about all teachers using one platform than the use of any platform in particular.

Across the board, students have been generally pleased with the end-of week due dates, as they allow for individual scheduling and time management. However, there was a consistent 25 percent or so who preferred checkpoints throughout the week, or work due daily to prevent procrastination that comes with longer-term assignments.

In general, students overwhelmingly wanted to keep the end-of-week due dates, Zoom meetings, and the current workload. Many were also happy with the flexibility they’ve seen from teachers, canvas assignments, general communication, and the options they’ve been able to choose from within the work.

Moving forward, students had four primary requests. They wanted, first and foremost, one platform where they could find all the work they were expected to complete. Many also expressed that desire for relevant and interesting work, as well as more formal online lessons where they could learn new information. On top of that, multiple students requested for a schedule to be created as to when these Zoom calls could take place, as they’ve struggled with overlapping calls and planning out other aspects of their week.