Students, Faculty Cope with Change to Online Learning

With the abrupt switch to online classes in response the Covid-19 pandemic, faculty and students alike have had more on their plate this semester than they ever imagined.

“I am worried about some of my students,” said Kim Cobb, assistant professor in the Department of Communications and Media Studies. “Some of them don’t have the technology readily available to them at home.”

Cobb said she realizes some students struggle with online classes, and they are having difficulty making the switch when they are losing their jobs and living with elderly parents or grandparents.

Abby Blizzard, sophomore chemistry education major, said the change to online classes has killed most of her motivation.

“I often forget that I have assignments due because I am not meeting with the classes,” she said.

Blizzard said she is staying positive, appreciating that she is still able to further her education during this historic time.

Grace Christian, a junior in communications, brings up a generally overlooked perspective.

“I’ve been awake all night doing schoolwork and sleeping throughout the day,” she said. “It has really thrown off my sleep schedule.”

She said she recognizes it is hard to stay focused on schoolwork while being in the comfort of home.

“I feel more stressed than normal,” freshman social work major Alexis Harper said.

Harper is worried about being able to get help with assignments from professors she can’t contact.

“I have a constant feeling of being behind, and I am afraid I can’t get caught up,” she said.

The switch to online classes also concerns Matthew Wright, a communications sophomore.

“Having essentially a two-week spring break, then getting a load of assignments thrown on, has taken all of my motivation away,” he said.

Brytani Patterson is a freshman and a wellness education major, but she also is an essential worker at Walmart.

“I have an overload of hours at work, and, on top of that, I feel like my professors are putting more work on students than we had in our regular class,” she said.

Patterson said she appreciates that some professors are trying to work with their students, but she worries about professors who see online classes as “the lazy way out.”

Patrick Means, an adjunct instructor and graduate student who teaches speech communications, admitted that some classes are hard to teach online.

“I teach a course that helps strengthen the fear of speaking and, at its core, our own public speaking apprehension,” Means said. “However, when you strip the face-to-face encounters and learning from the classroom it becomes challenging to help and educate students on the various approaches of public speaking.”

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