What have been the greatest difficulties and challenges in being a student in this situation?

I think the greatest difficulty that I faced as a student is the feeling that time has no meaning. Though it does sound bleak, the monotonous repetition of living day to day without going outside has left me feeling very unpassionate. Whether it is Monday or Saturday, I know my schedule will be getting up, eating food, doing homework, getting distracted on the internet, and eventually going back to sleep. The end result of this is a purveying lack of motivation, and putting off watching several online lectures until the last minute. I think the only response to this is to actively look for things to do to keep one motivated - ie a nice change of pace. This too is extremely difficult since many activities either require you to go outside, or purchase things. Since both situations have their negatives - you should not be going outside for social distancing and if you are broke like me you cannot buy anything - one is left bored out of their mind and probably re watching the same netflix show for the fifth time.

What has worked well in this time? What improvements would help you, as a student, learn in this situation (given the parameters of social distancing and the like)?

I do not envy the teachers who have had to adjust their plan due to the virus, so I think me as well as many other students are thankful for the work they have done to do so - regardless of how well they adjusted. I think the best thing one of my teachers did given the situation was to introduce scheduled reading reflections due before every class. I will admit it was very annoying; however, I also feel like it forced me to pay attention and develop a schedule so that I could read. As mentioned in the previous question, the circumstances surrounding many students encourage them to put off assignments - more so than usual. As a result, I think that having a scheduled due reading helped motivate me to work harder in the class. That said, I think a big reason why that worked was because we did not have to read an overwhelming amount as it made it easy to complete. I think the biggest improvement that would help me as a student would be if more teachers would give out these scheduled assignments, but do so such that the assignment would not scare the student into not even trying.

If you were to have another partial (or whole) semester of learning at home again, what would you like to see done differently? And what you personally do differently?

Personally, I think I underestimated how much of a mental effect staying at home would have on me, and had I prepared in advance by attempting to keep a schedule that did not include me sleeping for 14 hours, I would have done a lot better academically. I would also encourage the university to allow for one to choose the pass/fail option after finals as for many classes finals take up to 30% of the final grade. Another thing I would have differently is find an alternative to ELMS as far as quizzes and tests are concerned. Though it worked out for several of my classes, my comp sci tests suffered from an inability to send certain types of pictures. So for a class like Discrete Math where we had to show our work, several TAs were unable to see the work that was done. We ended up moving to do our tests on Gradescope, in which we had to print out each test, take pictures and convert them to pdfs to submit. I feel like there has to be a better alternative out there, though I will admit I do not know one off the top of my head.