Emerging Voices: Does Distance Learning Bring Us Closer to Education? | AIChE

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Emerging Voices: Does Distance Learning Bring Us Closer to Education?

Emerging Voices

The COVID-19 pandemic has had widespread social, economic, and political impacts. The urgency to limit normal day-to-day contact with others resulted in many establishments needing to shut down or seek alternative methods of operation. Some companies required weeks to switch to a work-from-home platform and make significant changes to business protocols. However, academia is one sector that had to make adjustments on short and immediate notice, especially for fields such as chemical engineering and other science departments that could not be entirely remote.

As a commuter who graduated with my BS in chemical engineering in 2022 from the Univ. of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), I had the unique opportunity to experience college before, during, and after the onset of the pandemic.

Pre-COVID. Before the pandemic, virtually all core chemical engineering classes were conducted in-person. Depending on the professor’s teaching methods, students would enter a lecture hall and be greeted with either slides displayed on a screen, writing on the board, or just an entirely oral lecture given by the professor with minimal to no writing. Students had to take notes during the class period as, often, the professor did not post any notes or slides on their course website.

Assignments for the classes had to be completed either by hand or typed, with a...

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