Online University Thoughts

By Abhimukth Chaudhuri


Summer went by in the blink of an eye and before I knew it, we had already completed a week at McZoom – I mean, McGill University. With everything being online and not being able to scavenge for a spot in the Trottier 5th floor study area, it was hard to get a sense of how everyone is doing, especially when we can’t exactly see each other. So, I went ahead and created a Google form and asked you guys to let me know your thoughts about online classes this semester. Here are some of the questions I asked and what your peers had to say!


How have you felt about the structure of your courses?

  • Very happy about it
  • It’s alright. However, there are way more assignments, projects and labs than I am used to
  • Feels like there is more work to be done than in-person semesters. 
  • Mixed feelings –  some professors have adapted much better than others
  • It’s good. Some of my courses have recorded lectures while others are live, but they release the recordings later. However, they have a lot of assignments throughout the semester
  • It could be better dealt with 


What are some good things about it?

  • It’s good that we have the time to figure out how we want to organize our time.
  • No commute! And, I can wake up later!
  • Recorded lectures and higher weightage on assignments
  • Some of the professors are putting in genuine effort to make sure that the course is delivered properly
  • Can be in class while doing other things!
  • I love that they are recorded and I can go back and watch them to catch up on stuff I might have missed


What are the biggest challenges you might face this semester?

  • Staring at the computer the entire day, not needing a reason to leave the house, and having to focus throughout an online pre-recorded lecture.
  • Organizing our time efficiently and dedicating enough time for each subject. It’s been difficult learning in this new way, looking at our screens all day, losing interaction, and having added work.
  • Getting doubts cleared.
  • Not being able to work directly with my fellow students, especially due to time zone differences.
  • The professors are giving too many assignments thinking that it relieves the pressure off of a big final. But, I feel it will become too much to keep up with.
  • Social interaction
  • Internship interviews and managing school time
  • Loneliness and isolation 🙁


What do you wish could be done differently this semester?

  • I wish professors would use Zoom polling instead of Turning Point. I wish McGill would offer more mental health stuff online as well as making it clearer what is available to us because when everything is online, it can be hard to find information.
  • More interaction… It gets hard to focus and sometimes I am not motivated to attend the live lectures
  • Take into account the additional stress that is added due to the pandemic and make the assignments a bit easier
  • Reduce tuition, and open libraries to study without having to book in advance or at least increase the time slots for booking
  • The professors could go a bit slower in their pace because it’s harder to keep concentration while attending lectures online 


Wow! I am really glad to see that I am not alone when it comes to feeling a certain way about online classes this semester. While some courses have been planned out really well to accommodate students for remote learning, others still lack clarity, leaving us with questions and concerns  for days. With lectures being recorded, we all have the luxury to wake up whenever we want and refer to any recording as many times as it takes to clear out our doubts in our courses. However, at the same time, there are waves of new challenges we all have to face, starting from organizing our days to trying our best to not get trampled under all the quizzes, labs, midterms, and assignments that are rapidly and inevitably coming our way. 


Thank you to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts about online classes this semester at McGill!