University of Regina completes first full academic year of online learning

The University of Regina is days away from the end of its winter semester, and with the end in sight, students are looking back on an unprecedented school year. Photo by Andrew Benson.

With finals right around the corner, the University of Regina and its students are looking ahead to summer. But before the warm weather rolls in, students are looking back on a school year that was unlike anything they have seen before.

When the University of Regina made the decision to hold the 2020-2021 school year online, third year Biology student, Josh Christiansen was worried about moving online. Now, at the end of the school year, Christiansen is feeling the effects of online University.

“I remember first hearing about going online for the year and all I thought was this sucks,” said Christiansen. “But then once you get into it, and now with the year almost being over, I am at the point where I can look at it and go that wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t optimal, but we did it and got through it.”

While some students have thrived online, others feel they have missed out on the most important aspects of school.

“There are definitely positives and negatives to it,” said Christiansen. “I feel in terms of learning, I don’t think there has been a huge difference. I think I have learned just as much this year being online, then I did in person. However, you don’t really have that opportunity to be social anymore,” said Christiansen.

“When we were in person, I would have lunch all the time with my friends and I loved it. But now that we can’t do things like that, it makes being online more difficult”

The lack of social interaction is a problem felt by a number of university students, including Christopher Tuharsky. Tuharsky, who is set to graduate and begin Law School in the fall, said not having the same level of social interaction has been the hardest part of moving online this year.

“This school year hasn’t had a great impact on my mental health,” said Tuharsky. “The interaction just isn’t there. Even when profs tried to help with breakout rooms, everyone would just sit there quietly and not talk.”

Since the beginning of the school year, students have been concerned about the effects on their health being online. And now, at the end of the year, students are feeling the effects of the screen.

“I have been getting bad migraines this year, and I think it is because I spend all day looking at my computer screen,” said Tuharsky.

Christiansen said that he also has been feeling screen fatigue as the school year draws to a close.

“When you have to do all your classes on a screen and then all your homework on a screen, I am probably on my computer at least 10 hours a day,” said Christiansen. ““I have experienced a lot of headaches from being on zoom most of the day.”

“It has also affected my sleep. Looking at the screen all day, I have found it a lot harder to fall asleep which also affects my mental health. Especially over the last month now that we are getting to the end. I just want to go outside”

With only a few days left of normal classes, students like Christiansen and Tuharsky are eagerly awaiting to hear what the fate for next year’s studies will be.

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