PLNU Online Can Do Better – A Student’s Perspective

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When I first got word of how little the price reduction for tuition would be, I left a comment on PLNU’s Instagram page asking how they can justify the cost of attendance considering how horrible my experience was online last semester. Their response was that the professors didn’t have much time to prepare because of how rapidly the situation changed, and they had been working the last few months to make this semester much better. That answer satisfied me until we started classes again. 

My friends and I had multiple bad experiences within the first week — from professors not knowing how to unmute themselves to them ending the whole Zoom meeting on accident. You would think after having months to prepare, they would at least know Zoom’s basic functions. This takes away from already shortened time we have to learn the same amount of information. Three weeks in and you’d expect things to be better, but still we have professors who forget to post Zoom links until a student emails them directly 15 minutes after the fact. 

Being online has taken away so much about what makes PLNU special. Chapel now feels like even more of a chore. Although I am not the most religious person, I did love the post-chapel talks one would have with peers in the class right after. From my frequent talks with friends, I know this semester has made it very hard to stay engaged both spiritually and academically. Incoming freshmen, for example, miss out on a lot of important parts of becoming independent adults. Because these students lose the freedom that comes with not living with their parents, they also lose the opportunity to become responsible for themselves and miss out on valuable time-management skills. This might make it harder for them when in-person classes resume. 

Some professors are doing things right and have a good grasp of both Canvas and Zoom, but far too many do not. Professors need to do more to make sure everything goes smoothly and information is readily available in a time where general anxiety and discomfort might be at an all-time high. This criticism in no way comes out of spite, but out of love for my university.