A Reflection on Remote Learning

Mar 18, 2020

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

We want to commend our students, faculty and staff for their continued flexibility and patience during this challenging time as the campus makes critical adjustments in response to COVID-19. To give a snapshot of what UCLA is like with remote learning in place, we asked a few undergraduate students in leadership roles to share their experiences so far. Their responses were sent in before the announcement that remote learning will be extended through the end of spring quarter.

“Remote learning has been an adjustment, but my professors have been extremely understanding and flexible as we all persevere through these times together,” said Zachary Kum, a fourth-year electrical engineering student and vice president of the UCLA Engineering Ambassadors. “The adjustment has also been eased as my professors modified assignments and lectures to fit the new online system.”

The adjustment has also been eased as my professors modified assignments and lectures to fit the new online system.

Kum noted that his technology and society class, taught by electrical and computer engineering professor John Villasenor, allowed groups to present their final projects through the Zoom platform. Villasenor also offered tips on how to deliver an effective presentation remotely, he said.

“So far, there have been a lot of growing pains as everyone adjusts to conducting classes online. Some of the benefits include the convenience of being able to attend classes from my apartment, and being able to re-watch and rewind lectures once they were posted online just in case I missed anything,” shared Supreethi Penmetcha, a third-year mechanical engineering student and the internal vice president for the Engineering Society of the University of California (ESUC).

Penmetcha noted initial hurdles, such as some participants forgetting to mute their audio during Zoom lectures, and the process of just getting used to the software itself. Also, some students had their last lecture or discussion sections cancelled.

“The uncertainty concerning how finals will be held has probably been one of the bigger sources of stress at this time, as things are constantly changing,” she said. “But overall, my professors have been very understanding. Personally, online learning has been convenient as I am fortunate enough to have internet access and a computer that can run Zoom at home, but it still doesn’t quite compare to physically being in a classroom or a lecture hall.”

“The transition to online learning and finals has felt strange, but overall has been completely painless,” said Caleb Lessard-Clouston, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student and the outreach co-director for Rocket Project at UCLA. “I think my friends and I were surprised by how easy it is to use Zoom. I took a final while sitting on my bed, and though I had been scared of technological difficulties, things went smoothly. Due to preparing for this final, I actually missed half of a lecture for another class which was right before the test, but fortunately that professor posted the recorded Zoom lecture on CCLE [a campus-wide service that makes online collaboration possible], something that will be helpful to the whole class I expect.”

“It is definitely different to not be going in to take in-person finals on campus, but all my professors seem to be working hard to make sure that the transition to online lectures and finals doesn’t inconvenience us or negatively impact our learning and final grades.”

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