Dear teachers: please stop doing these 5 things in your e-learning classroom


Student engaging in online learning. Photo courtesy of Johnny Azpuru.

Since the peak of COVID-19, the world is living through difficult times in which everything is virtual. Schools are forced to continue teaching virtually, which is a whole new ballpark for many students and teachers.

Harper’s fall semester is underway and already causing students more stress than usual. While many may be thrilled to not have to go to class, I am amongst the students who are pretty frustrated with this transition to online learning. And now that we know that the spring semester will also be online, teachers, please listen to us! 

I asked Harper students what drives them crazy about learning online. These seem to be at the top of most student’s complaints.


1.No clear instructions.

I thought my teachers were going to over-explain assignments, but it turns out that’s not the case. I feel like I’m emailing my teachers religiously for more details and explanations on their homework.

 “There’s a lack of direction and there isn’t any explanation as to why we are doing certain things,” explained Freshman Valeria Delgado.


2. Giving us more homework than we previously had with in-person learning.

I assumed the switch to online learning would give me and my classmates a break, but I actually began to be assigned way more work than I was prepared for. 

“One professor of mine thought it was ok to give us even more work than we previously had in class before going online,” commented Sophomore Maria Salorus.


3. Waiting until the end of the semester to put in grades.

I have to say, one of the worst parts about online learning is the delay with inputting grades. Some of my teachers grade work every week, while others take their sweet time leaving me and many other students anxious about our grades. 

“I had a professor that procrastinated his own work, so how would I be able to learn from my mistakes if I’m waiting for feedback even two days before the semester ends,” explained Sophomore Avnika Srivastava.


4. No meeting times or lectures…or too many meeting times…?

Along with other students, I definitely would like to meet and have some lectures to learn from instead of just teaching myself the content. 

“I don’t like how my teachers don’t have zoom calls or post lectures. I just have a bunch of articles and videos to watch and it is overwhelming. Also, I don’t have any study guides from my classes, I feel like in a time like this it is overwhelming to not have clear guidance,” explained Sophomore Shelby Norwood.

But, on the other hand, I can see why some students don’t like meeting for class. 

“I prefer not having class meeting times and being able to set my own school schedule. Everyone has so much going on so they can’t expect us to meet at set times anymore,” expressed Valeria Delgado. 


5. Posting so much stuff, that everything is confusing. 

I don’t understand why my teachers are posting assignments by the boatload. Readings here, lectures there, and discussion boards that require me to respond to 5 different people are really taxing. And the worst part is, it was all so confusing! Nothing seems to be in order.

“I had a professor that would go off on a lot of unrelated topics before the exam and it would be even more difficult on the exam when the material I thought was related to the exam was different,” explained Avnika Srivastava.

Being a student at Harper myself, I can attest to the feedback my fellow students and classmates have given me. I’m just as annoyed with the confusion and lack of direction. 

“Even though many students acknowledge that online school is necessary during the pandemic, some are hoping educators can be more empathetic and work with students who are really struggling at home,” explained reporter Tanya Chen on BuzzFeed News.

Some of my teachers have been awesome with online learning–one of my teachers has an ongoing feedback sheet that allows me to ask questions about any of the material and express any concerns about the class I may have. I wish more teachers did this, it’s really helpful!

And I’m not directly upset with my teachers–I know they are adapting too. But I hope they can read this and understand where I, and the rest of Harper’s student body, am coming from.

Hopefully, we can all be back on campus sooner than later and get back to the real human interaction that many of us prefer. But until then, we must navigate these difficult times and that means listening to student voices and what they have to say.