Since the beginning of St. Thomas University’s new era of remote delivery, fourth-year criminology student Kim Parker said the student workload has increased, which made her delay her graduation.
“I want to get busy with my life and now I have to delay [graduation] for I don’t know how long,” she said.
Parker said she had a lecture that took five hours for her professor to get through, saying it became a repetitive thing each week, causing students to complain. When she had in-person classes with this professor before online learning, she said the workload was nowhere near what it is online.
“Teachers just took advantage and figured ‘well, you’re just doing it online,’ and they just loaded on the work,” she said. “It was like double the work.”
She used an example from another professor she had for both in-person and online classes. When she had the professor for in-person learning, she had one 10-page paper during the semester and during online learning, she has three of them. Parker was forced to drop some courses, as the seven she was taking became too much for her.
Cécilia Francis, a French professor at STU, discovered the workload she gave her students was too much at one point after receiving feedback from them. The new format made it difficult for her to judge the workload but she said after she was informed, she made modifications to her second semester classes to ensure the workload was manageable.
“It was my first time I was using the Moodle platform, even though I took training over the summer,” said Francis. “I believe I put on too many readings and too many assignments.”
Francis, who has been teaching for nearly 30 years with 20 of them at STU, said the new methodology threw her off. Being trained in a certain methodology her whole career, she said the fall semester was a period of testing for her and she hopes her students are managing the amount of work in the current semester better.
Francis also said her workload as a professor has been affected. She said it’s like teaching for the first time.
“I have a lot of teaching materials that are developed but I have to put them online and I have to create video lectures,” she said. “I had to learn how to do that.”
Francis also had to create more PowerPoints and presentations for her classes than she would in a normal year.
Despite the struggles for both students and professors, Parker said her professors, with the exception of one, have been cooperative. She said they’ve been wonderful but she hasn’t gotten any advice from administration.
“It’s really frustrating,” said Parker.
“Nobody planned for any of this and I understand that but I’m disappointed in the university for not reimbursing us for the full tuition we paid.”