The COVID-19 pandemic forced many college students across the world to switch to online learning. This online education model gave students the ability to go to classes from the comfort of their own homes, yet it also resulted in creating a challenging time difference for many students. International students who wanted to study on-campus in the U.S. have struggled to obtain student visas due to the closures of U.S. Embassies around the world.
When focussing on the experience of international students attending schools in the U.S., many students have seen a huge detriment in their studies due to drastic time differences. When their peers in the U.S. are struggling to stay awake through an online lecture at 3 p.m., international students are pushing through the class at 3 a.m. Does that seem fair to you?
International students have to find a quiet place in their home to allow them to participate in class, while also allowing their family members to sleep. Many students are also missing out on spending quality time with their families due to their reverse sleeping schedule based on the time difference of their school.
Daylight saving time hit students like a brick wall, causing many miscalculated meeting times and more common absences from lectures. Students say that professors have been sympathetic about the time differences by allowing some students to take exams at a more reasonable hour, but there are still many students who feel that they have suffered unfair consequences because they live in a different time zone.
Though these grievances and struggles are still continuing this semester at Wheaton College, and many other campuses around the U.S., according to many professors, they are trying to solve many of the issues experienced by international students. One of these methods is hosting a combination of synchronous and asynchronous class sessions. Synchronous courses resemble traditional classes during which all students are expected to attend within the same time frame. Asynchronous classes allow students to attend class or complete assignments on their own time, which may better fit their own schedule.
Every student has a unique experience of this online/hybrid college format, and each has been forced to change their ways according to social distancing guidelines this year. Though it has been a struggle for many, schools are constantly changing their ways to accommodate for those students most impacted by drastic time differences. Each college format has its ups and downs, but the combination of many educational methods is a way schools are increasing accessibility for all of their students.