EWU students share online midterm experience

EWU+students+share+online+midterm+experience

Photo by William Hayden

By Ben Blakney, Reporter

 

EWU, as the quarter has progressed, has continued to facilitate online learning. All tests, quizzes, and assignments are newly formatted for distance learning. However, the testing environments have still been points of contention between some students and professors. 

Tests, quizzes, midterms and finals are all crucial aspects of secondary education, and without the in-person context of a testing center or proctor, online testing can be confusing.

“My professors handle online classes in a varied manner,” said freshman Nemico Tagalag. “None of them do Zoom lectures.”

Zoom has been the go-to for synchronous class meetings among the COVID-19 adjustments.  However, some professors have elected to skip Zoom class synchronicity altogether.

“One of my professors holds office hours for one hour every weekday, and you can hop on Zoom to talk to him,” said Tagalag. “[For/with] the others you must schedule appointments.”

The way these specific professors are presenting their online presence in a more a-la carte fashion illustrates how the typical midterm experience has changed.

Students listen in on the presentation during the workshop in 2017. (Whitney Bolar for The Easterner)

Another key difference in the EWU midterm protocol is just that: the differences. Each professor conducts their online classes in their own, unique way.

Both students noticed, even despite their unique spring quarters, that midterms were not heavily emphasized, almost to the point of non-existence.

“One class has weekly Zoom meetings. Another has optional weekly Zoom meetings and discussion boards. The other had us pick partners to work [and] talk with,” said senior Jared Martin.

With these differences in online class adaptations, these two students experienced differing levels of importance regarding their midterms.

“[Midterms were] not a high priority, said Tagalag. “The classes move as usual, and there is lots of busy work between major exams.”

In Martin’s experience, midterms were structured like an assignment with regular weight instead of a dedicated test.

Certain professors may prefer students to create a testing environment in their homes. Using resources such as Respondus lockdown browsers or required webcams, professors are able to prevent cheating.

“My professors had a relaxed environment except for the Respondus lockdown browser which in itself is still an uncertain integrity enforcement,” said Tagalag. “For the most part though, midterms were stress free as long as you studied.”

“What is problematic for me is that I feel outright cheated, to be blunt.” -Nemico Tagalag, Freshman

Martin is a theatre major, so his online classroom experience is more unique.

“For the theatre Zoom meetings, we try to be as present as possible. So, no phones,” said Martin. “But it [was] not strictly enforced and no one cares how our work space is set up. We just do whatever works.”

Following similar themes of most socially-distanced adaptations, EWU has increased their usual flexibility in these students’ cases. In efforts to maintain equity, professors have simply translated their in-person curriculum to an online medium.

“My professors adapted their testing for online by taking online test questions and slapping them on tests,” said Tagalag. “Not entirely sure whether that was a thing before, and I just wasn’t inclined to research my test questions afterwards, but every test question word-for-word is on some quizlet out there.”

Martin’s experience has been all project-based work, coming from a theatre background. Because of this, his midterms have been a more collaborative experience.

Tagalag had some closing thoughts in regards to his online quarter experience. 

“The online class environment is certainly frustrating in some regards, as everyone is required to adapt to some extent and move out of their comfort zones and areas of reason when it comes to expectations for online classes,” said Tagalag. “What is problematic for me is that I feel outright cheated, to be blunt. I am taking classes whose exams and assessments are word for word on old, student-made quizlets, with powerpoints put together haphazardly and with countless spelling errors.”

Tagalag also considered the professors’ points-of-view regarding EWU online midterms.

“I’m certain that professors also feel cheated for being so quickly rushed to re-adapt their curriculum and put everything online,” said Tagalag.