The Coronavirus-19 disrupted almost everything, including schooling. The United Nations (2020) reported that nine in ten students in 166 countries were prevented from attending in-person classes due to government-imposed lockdowns. Academic institutions were forced to modify their modalities and strategies to fulfill their mandate of educating their students. The Notre Dame of Kidapawan College, a private higher education institution in the island of Mindanao, Philippines, adopted a non-traditional modality of delivering instruction to its students. It was a combination of online lectures, pre-recorded lectures, sharing of ebooks as references, discussions held on messaging apps, and modules. This study was conducted to measure and understand the college students' learning experiences in the just concluded "new normal" academic year using explanatory sequential mixed-methods. For the quantitative phase, 256 students responded to an online questionnaire, and for the qualitative phase, 12 students representing all departments participated in the Focus Group Discussion. The college students were able to adjust fairly to the "new normal" methodology implemented by the school during the previous academic year. Despite the challenges and limitations of the methodology, most of the students complied with their academic requirements. Nevertheless, the students missed attending in-person classes, joining student activities, and hanging out with their friends and classmates. Independent and online learning is not on their bucket list because it is boring and lonely. They are not ready for another year of online learning and are looking forward to the day when the school will reopen.
Blenn Nimer, Notre Dame of Kidapawan College, Philippines