Online Learning Challenges For Freshman College Students

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Dr. Ionel Coltea

Online Learning Challenges For Freshman College Students

One study examined online learning as a transition for incoming freshman college students. It found that despite the potential benefits, students often encounter challenges in the process. Lack of motivation, unreliable technology, and lack of social engagement among other things were cited as obstacles. For more information, read the article. Then, determine which of the following best suits you. What can you do to overcome these obstacles? Follow these suggestions for successful online learning.

Lack of motivation
According to a recent survey of 1,008 freshman college students, lack of motivation for online learning is the number one challenge faced by a majority of them. While some students may blame this on poor instructor preparation or the limitations of online learning, many more are the direct result of lack of access to the right resources. For example, a lack of access to the internet and trouble getting on the computer were reported as common problems by one-third of first-year students.

Whether your student has a passion for a subject or is simply curious, there are several tips to combat lack of motivation. One of the most effective ways to combat this is to be the most energetic person in the room. You need to exude an energy that inspires students, and that energy has to be transferred across a computer screen. In higher education, it is impossible to achieve 100 percent engagements with all students. However, if you add fun and engaging elements, your online experience can be a great one.

Unreliable technology
A recent study by the Johannes Gutenberg University and Goethe University Frankfurt found that while students often preferred online information, they had difficulty evaluating it critically. Despite the wide array of online resources, they often were influenced by unreliable information and were prone to use the wrong sources for their information. The study’s Critical Online Reasoning Assessment also revealed that students often rely on non-reliable information to make decisions.

Many first-year college students experienced technical difficulties accessing resources. Among these students, one-third reported frequent computer problems, while 21 percent cited unpredictable internet access as a problem. Additionally, a majority of students reported inconsistent internet access, which makes it difficult to study online. It’s no wonder that such problems are prevalent among students, particularly low-income students. The problem of limited access to internet and educational resources creates a number of learning challenges.

Lack of in-person communication
In a study conducted by the nonprofit ACT, two-thirds of freshman college students reported problems with online learning. Among them, one-third experienced frequent computer trouble and 21 percent experienced unpredictable internet access. Lack of in-person communication is an important challenge for online learners. However, students with the necessary technical knowledge can overcome the problem. One way to ensure success is to ask questions about the course expectations.

As educational technology continues to grow, face-to-face interaction is losing its importance. Young students can no longer walk up to a teacher’s desk and ask for feedback. They can no longer stop by the professor’s office during the day or after class to get extra help. These opportunities are important but are becoming increasingly scarce in online learning environments. The New York Times reported that online learners’ lack of interaction may be one of the biggest challenges for college students.

Lack of social engagement
There are many reasons why students don’t engage in conversation with other classmates online. Some students reported that it is difficult to establish distinct impressions of fellow classmates, because they aren’t able to see their facial expressions. This lack of social engagement limited student engagement, especially for first-year students, who were taking their first semester of college. To solve this issue, instructors should make it a policy to turn on cameras during class time.

Among the factors that negatively impacted student engagement, the first-year experience is crucial to academic success. It predicts students’ success later on, so having a good first year is important. While the lack of social engagement during the first year of college is inevitable, some factors that can contribute to the disruption are beyond the students’ control. One can conclude that a lack of social engagement when online learning challenges for freshman college students is apparently among many learners.

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