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How students are responding to a new online learning environment

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Elijah Bia | The Daily Wildcat

Old Main from the side perspective located off of Main Gate Square. Taken on August 10th, 2020.

With the University of Arizona recommending that students remain at home since the Thanksgiving holiday, the question regarding how students respond to studying online on campus versus an at-home environment comes into play. 

With finals for the students coming up in just over two weeks, the students are becoming concerned about if it was the right choice for them to remain home.

The University of the People said that “When you’re at home, you have access to many more distractions like TV, your bed, etc. This fact makes it easier to procrastinate. Your home may not be only for you. As such, family members, roommates, children, or whoever is there could be distracting during your study time. It also might be too noisy to concentrate."

The question, however, is: With online school, would students have those same distractions at their on-campus homes as well?

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“For me, I feel like when I am on campus I have the same distractions that I might at home, but it is easier for me to go to the library or a coffee shop to study and be focused when I am on campus since it’s a lot closer and more accessible,” said UA student Jeff Sillers.

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“I think I will be able to continue my work just the same at home, but it will definitely be harder because I find it motivating to go see other students studying, so I can’t cheat myself,” said UA student Jake Peters.

A developmental psychologist and professor at the University of California, San Diego Department of Education Studies, Amy Bintliff, said that “Students talked a lot about really missing being in person with their classmates, with their colleagues, with their faculty members, and having those spontaneous, organic conversations and relationships. They miss the ones they make in the context of their college education specifically, because not only does it make them excited about learning and hold them accountable and motivate them to stay engaged in school, but they also actually learn a lot more.”

Unfortunately for the students, however, those in-person, organic relationships are not at the front lines right now with COVID-19. In addition to the university wanting to stop students from coming together during this post-Thanksgiving time, the City of Tucson is looking to be more cautious as well. 

Mayor of Tucson, Regina Romero, is hosting a meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1, to discuss with the council strengthening COVID-19 mitigation. She is considering enforcing a mandatory curfew from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. Therefore, for the students who are still in town, they can expect to certainly be in study mode, not party mode.

Overall, the safety of the UA, Tucson and worldwide community is the most important thing right now. Unfortunately for many, however, creating this worldwide safety comes with many secondary issues and, right now, the students at the UA are struggling with being sent home and how online school adaptations are constantly having to be met.


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (1/15)
1,226 23 %
Total (8/4)
124,667 3,598 %
Includes tests since August 4, 2020
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated January 15, 2021