Completing the usual workload while sitting at a desk with your teacher helping you. School norms include a variety of books and resources physically accessible and the ability to communicate with your peers in a classroom setting. Now, class begins and you are in your room alone; laying on your bed in front of a computer with all possible distractions in front of you. For some, it is not the preferred way of education, especially since students are accustomed to learning in a classroom setting, but various students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have found their own unique ways to succeed in online learning.
Just like in physical school, having a designated place to do school work is important for many students at MSD during e-learning. It could be sitting at a desk, sitting outside in nature, going to a coffee shop or any other place that helps students stay focused and engaged in class.
For some, that place is in the comfort of their own bed. Senior Bryant Velasco prefers this because he feels a lot more comfortable and as if there is less pressure on him.
“I also don’t have to wake up too early, I just have to open my eyes and grab my computer next to me. I can eat, drink water, and relax,” Velasco said.
However, he does acknowledge that there are some disadvantages with this method.
“I do admit that sometimes I don’t even wake up and am late to first period and even to the periods after,” Velasco said. “You get lazy doing your assignments because you are so comfortable in bed.”
This is why students like senior Barbara Moreno prefer waking up early, getting semi-ready for school, setting up her desk with her notebooks and pencils and beginning her classes sitting in front of her computer ready to learn.
Although it may be very tempting to use cellular devices during class, as teachers cannot physically see you and they are very easily accessible, Moreno also takes the initiative to put away all distractions herself.
“I try to limit my distractions as much as possible so I make sure my phone is not near me at all to allow me to study and do what I have to do,” Moreno said.
Along with hiding her phone, Moreno locks herself away in a clean environment that is free of noise or disruptions in order to fully concentrate on the tasks at hand.
Like many other students, Moreno also enjoys the flexibility of her school schedule and firmly believes in keeping an organizational system to be able to complete all her work in a timely manner.
“Some advantages of online learning are that it allows you to be more independent and not rely on the teachers so much like before so you can organize your own time to do all your activities,” Moreno said.
Therefore, students believe that adopting a method of organization is important. For example, junior Maria Jose Rojas keeps a planner to write all of her assignments down so she doesn’t forget a single thing.
“Some of my teachers have Canvas organized in a weird way where it is a little hard to find the assignments since their modules are not very clear,” Rojas said. “Therefore, I listen very carefully when they announce homework in our Teams meeting each class and write it down in my planner so I don’t forget about anything.”
Senior Isabella Fernandez prefers to keep a calendar where she can mark important due dates so it is clear for her to see and remember them.
As the MSD student body is so diverse, students have different opinions on engaging and in class. Some feel comfortable participating in class because it helps them pay more attention, and others prefer to remain quiet and to themselves.
Fernandez believes that participating in class makes the e-learning experience so much more enjoyable. “You get to really feel like you are in class this way and not just staring at a computer screen. I like to answer teachers’ questions when they ask and comment on the topics we are talking about,” Fernandez said.
However, there are other students that find this to be a little bit more challenging.
“I’m more on the shy side and that is why I find participating in class a little more difficult,” Rojas said. “This is why engaging in class has been a little bit of a challenge for me.”
Overall, students are dealing with online schooling in a variety of ways, creating environments and using techniques that personally work for them. Some have a structured routine like Moreno and Fernandez, while others are still learning and adopting strategies to aid them in their schoolwork.