Duke Students Adjust to Unconventional Learning Landscape

Friday, April 17, 2020
A group of students taking a selfie

Spring 2020 has brought more challenges to Duke than anyone expected. How have students been adjusting to the disruption of their normal campus lives? We talked with three of our Duke Econ student workers, Jasmine Wen, Kevin Feng, and Kevin Tan, all first-years, about how they are dealing with online classes, what they are missing most, and how they are taking care of themselves.

All three of the students said that the adjustment to online learning hasn’t been as challenging as they anticipated. “We are all on the same page with learning the ins and outs of remote technologies like Zoom,” said Tan. “It's nice that we're all in it together to make online learning as smooth as possible.” Wen noted that her professors have been very accommodating during this time. 

The students agreed that the increased flexibility around online learning has been a plus. “I like the flexibility because it is mostly pre-recorded lectures so I can listen to them when I want,” said Feng. Tan agreed, saying pre-recorded lectures are especially helpful for students in different time zones.

Of course, there are challenges as well. “It’s hard staying on schedule and keeping up with all my work,” said Wen. “It's so easy to fall behind without the accountability of your friends and classmates and an in-person teacher.” Tan also noted that virtual “in-person” interaction with professors and fellow students is strange sometimes, especially in classes that require a lot of in-person participation. “Getting help from office hours and the like is also a bit challenging because a lot of those rely on person-to-person interactions,” he said.

All of the students are taking care to protect their mental health in this time, from learning a new skill, connecting with friends online, and finding time for themselves that doesn’t involve schoolwork. Nevertheless, they are all anxious to get back to campus, whenever that may be. Catching up with people is the top priority, as well as taking full advantage of everything Duke has to offer. “I can’t wait to hug all my friends,” said Tan.