SGA survey finds most students unsatisfied with remote education

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas
Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

Article Originally Published by Will Tarpley on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by Will Tarpley on North Texas Daily

The majority of students polled felt the quality of education they receive in remote classes is inferior to in-person classes, according to a Student Government Association survey.

The survey, led by SGA President Michael Luecke, sought to gauge student opinion of current online and remote learning along with how students thought their professors faired with the format last fall semester.

“We wanted to see how students felt their professors dealt with and adjusted to the new learning format and what could be done to improve the student experience for the future,” Luecke said.

The survey offered multiple-choice questions, with five potential answers offered on a scale from strongly positive to strongly negative. There were 1,173 students who participated in the survey, according to data sent to the North Texas Daily. The majority of these were students who attended the university last fall with 92 of them starting this semester.

One question polled participants if they felt the quality of the education they were receiving online was better than, equal to or worse than what they received in-person. Of those polled, 765 answered “probably not” or “definitely not,” while 133 said “probably yes” or “definitely yes.” 106 chose “maybe.”

When asked if online classes had made coursework more challenging, 699 participants answered either “challenging” or “very challenging,” while 163 answered “helpful” or “very helpful.” 142 answered “neither.”

“I feel quite good about the outcome,” Luecke said. “There was a good amount of responses to the survey and a lot of perspectives given on what the university and professors can do better in regards to classes and student education experience.”

While the university is offering in-person classes this semester, many classes were still relegated to the digital and remote formats for the spring.

Engineering junior Isiah Manley said nearly all of his classes were online, but professors were mostly keeping up with students.

“My professors have been really good about interacting with students through Zoom and Canvas,” Manley said. “The only complaints I have are the testing is real strict through the Lockdown [Browser]. We haven’t gotten much leeway, even through the pandemic and in a different type of teaching environment.”

Biology freshman Elias Chavarria said only his technical writing class was online, but he encountered difficulties with remote chemistry and biology classes.

“Most of my classes are science classes, and even in normal times, learning science is difficult,” Chavarria said. “Since both of my science lecture classes are remote, it makes learning more difficult for me because I am more focused in the classroom and I learn better in person. Asking questions is also more difficult on zoom. ”

Manley said he felt something is missing when all interaction is relegated through a monitor.

“It’s hard to form any type of relationship with the professors through the screen,” Manley said. “I’ve had a hard time getting recommendations from professors when they barely know who I am. Leaning wise, I have also had to teach myself most of the subject, so I’d say that’s missing along with maybe networking between students and professors.”

Chavarria similarly said he would like to see more engagement from students and professors, “because it is very easy to get distracted at home.”

“My classes are OK. Considering everything going on, we are all doing our best,” Chavarria said. “Professors could be more receptive, check emails and respond to them more periodically. Other than that  classes are going okay, so far.”

He also said the biology classes he took last fall and this spring were “poorly structured.”

“Our grade in that class is solely based on the exams, and [on] the first exam we took, most of my class failed,” Chavarria said. “Other than that, professors should provide more resources for students other than just lectures, PowerPoints and the [textbook] to learn from.”

For students taking similar classes, Chavarria said they should study the syllabus carefully and reach out to anyone in charge.

“If the class offers Supplemental Instruction, attend them,” Chavarria said. “Go to the professor’s office hours, [and] read the syllabus carefully. Find people you can study with or find people with similar classes and help each other out.”

President Neal Smatresk sent out an official announcement March 4 which said for fall 2021, the university plans to transition back to a “robust mix of in-person and online courses” which students “traditionally enjoyed.”

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

Source: North Texas Daily