Like at most schools, Yuba College students have been learning through distance education – with limited face-to-face opportunities for some lab courses. It’s about time to see how they did, with the fall semester coming to a close and finals this week.

Some students shared their experiences. Here’s what they had to say:

– Sukhdip Kaur: A second-year student majoring in biological sciences, the 21-year-old plans to transfer to U.C. Davis in the fall of 2021 and eventually go to medical school to become a doctor.

While there have been challenges during the distance education experience at Yuba College, Kaur said the professors have been very helpful and she has been able to utilize services through the college when she needs help.

“(The professors) were doing Zoom lectures, so with Zoom lectures, it felt like face-to-face because you can see each other’s faces … and see them teach and I really liked that because it made me feel more connected,” Kaur said. “... Whenever I would go in to get help, tutors were very understanding. They would put more time in than usual to help us understand everything.”

Kaur has also utilized the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement program, which she said offers support for students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Kaur said counseling services were helpful with the transfer process.

“I felt like it wasn’t going to be the same (as before distance education), but once I started, I met my counselor online and she helped me so much with the transfer process,” Kaur said. “... They were so supportive and I’ve just felt like it was the same.”

However, distance education hasn’t come without its challenges.

“It takes more time than usual to understand the classwork material,” she said. “It’s kind of the fact that you’re not getting the bigger picture. When you’re in class, you feel more comfortable that you learned everything … but when you’re online, it feels like you’re missing a lot of things.”

She said it can also be difficult because of distractions at home and the lack of a routine – but she said she isn’t letting the situation get to her.

She encourages other students to put more time in than usual to make things work and remember to take a break – Kaur said she makes sure to get everything done during the week so she can have her weekends free.

“I think Yuba College has been very supportive in this online education, distance learning process,” Kaur said. “They always communicate and update (students) … It makes me feel like the college is still connected with the students and makes us feel like they value us.”

 

– Brenden Knox: A Yuba College sophomore, the 22-year-old is currently in the military at Beale Air Force Base and has plans to transfer to Portland State University.

At Yuba College, Knox has been focusing on general education and was accepted to Portland State as a biology major with hopes of eventually applying to medical school.

He said distance education has given him an opportunity to take his education into his own hands while working.

“The flexibility is the big one, especially in times like this, things can be very shaky,” Knox said. “... It gives you the power to take it into your own hands.”

For example, he said if he had a class scheduled to meet at a specific time, he might miss it because of work but with distance education, he can go back, watch the video provided and email questions if needed.

Knox said, however, there was a learning curve with distance education and taking science courses like biology outside of the classroom has been challenging.

“The professor has been incredible with giving us resources and helping us out every step of the way,” Knox said. “Without the resources and the help and her listening to my concerns specifically, I don’t know if I would have done as well.”

Knox said at the beginning of the semester the instructor, Melissa Ha, would post audio files along with articles and other resources but he had a difficult time following along with just an audio file and asked if she could upload a video instead.

Shortly after that, she started uploading videos.

“(She) was very helpful, very understanding, she wants you to succeed, she really wants you to learn the material,” Knox said.

He encourages other students to communicate with their teachers, to try not to procrastinate and – if necessary – reduce their class load.

 

– Wendy Taliaferro: She’s almost 60 years old and just finished her third semester at the college with the hopes of starting a women empowerment organization after she completes her master’s degree.

Taliaferro said she has utilized a number of services offered by Yuba College.

“It’s been an amazing journey – it’s been challenging, but amazing,” Taliaferro said. “The support system at Yuba College is second to none, they help me to be successful.”

She said things like counselors, extended opportunity programs and services, disabled students programs and services and more have been there when she needed support, and being a part of student government has also helped keep her motivated.

“It’s just so much that the school has done for me and … my family has been totally awesome in supporting me,” Taliaferro said.

She said it’s also helpful to have the option to go back, watch the videos provided and review things as needed, but it can be challenging not being able to have face-to-face conversations with instructors and not always being able to ask questions as they arise. 

“It’s not as easy to maintain good grades at home as when you’re in a campus setting where you can communicate with students and the instructors,” she said. “... You worry about getting things done on time but the professors have been very understanding and we let them know, we email them.”

Taliaferro encourages other students to reach out to the support systems Yuba College offers and utilize the resources available.

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