“””why Do International Students Hate Online Learning?”” Lombardi”

An information session from Cardozo’s online Learning & Consequence course.

"""why Do International Students Hate Online Learning?"" Lombardi"

“Why Do International Students Hate Online Learning?” ~Part I //

Taking advantage of an online class offered by Science Corner, Science was a pioneer in online learning. All the administration would do, and still does, is notice the people who don’t enroll and complain about them to their colleague. They send an email to the department explaining why it’s so confusing to new students or why there’s no faculty moderators to prevent students from posting insane opinions.

There has been an ongoing battle of wills between the International students and the staff of the Science Corner. You can imagine the issues we’ve had dealing with confusion of what constitutes “interactive” or “1-on-1” interaction with teachers. It has become clear that we need the faculty to help out a bit, but the faculty hardly acknowledge our complaints.

Several years ago, I decided to leave my undergrad program in order to teach a Digital Audio and Video course. I was quite pleased with the idea and never really had an issue with the transition to online. The problem with the transition began when I found it impossible to find an active community in New York City. I tried to attend information sessions around midtown Manhattan to introduce students to Digital Audio and Video and many of the sessions had completely obscure English websites. To be honest, I didn’t realize that the literature I would be using included very technical terms that many students didn’t know anything about.

I have tried multiple times to find out what my status is with the introduction to Digital Audio and Video course, but I have been told, “Hello… ??!” or “Oh-hah… I see now…” By this point, I began to wonder if any of this should even be happening. It was just really very frustrating.

I am not a college professor. I had no incentive to get up and teach more students. I had no infrastructure to teach outside the classroom when I took the job. On top of that, I was working full time, was committed to my family, and I was dealing with trying to find a way to provide my curriculum with lecture notes and screen captures and audio podcasts. All that in the name of teaching Digital Audio and Video. I’m not a twenty year old college student—I don’t have a bunch of funding coming in every few years, but I also don’t make $8 an hour. I can’t sell creative student materials online as easily as a twenty year old can. When my students don’t take me seriously, and assume that I am not on their level because I don’t lecture and don’t live on campus, or that I am telling their class what they want to hear, then that hurts.

One thing I have realized is that perhaps my biggest problem in New York City is not that I don’t teach, but that I don’t teach in my own way. I was concerned with trying to teach within the boundaries of the course. I was afraid to say things that I otherwise would have said in class because I didn’t know where to go with it. I have also worked quite hard to make my text available on a wide variety of different websites and always were worried that students would not find my syllabus there.

This discomfort, however, was in large part caused by my former colleagues within the Science Corner. When I first started here, I was told that I did not have to teach students. I had to set up and manage the timetables. I had to make sure that all the electronic material was accessible to the students. I could set up Youtube lecture videos and facilitate the presentation of the content by our students, but that was not my responsibility.

But here I am, after about three years, having to try and teach the content in my own way. This reality is really quite disturbing. I used to be able to move around the Science Corner and lecture wherever I wanted, and not worry too much about dropping into a classroom.

I do love how interactive online learning is, and how it connects people through interactive learning experiences. I believe that the technological breakthroughs in this area that we have experienced in the last ten years should be celebrated, and that it is great that, in some ways, digital learning has become the norm in higher education. But when someone asks you to teach a class, you expect to be paid for your effort. I don’t see the scope of the offering online as being cost effective as it is through teaching my students as myself and my content.

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