The fall semester has started and scholars have completed their first two weeks of virtual classes. Face-to-face learning is becoming an option and students share how their experience has been thus far.
Julia Robinson, a senior business management major, received notice of the plans that were set in place for her fall semester via mass emails and pamphlets. Robinson read through all the information that was given to her, but it was a lot to take in.
“In the end, I was just going to go by ear and see what the school was actually going to do,” she said.
Robinson ordered her books in advance, but she was waiting on her professors to email her directly to see what they had prepared for the semester. She was full of anxiety, not knowing how the semester would work by sitting in front of a camera all day. Yet, once the semester started and classes were in session, she mentioned that all her worries went away.
Robinson is in an academic fraternity, Phi Sigma Pi, and she said that when it came to departing in March, the effect was not too colossal when it came to planned events.
“The only thing that was really different was the big, little reveal and big, little recruitment week. With voting, we had to do it over Zoom or a Gmail form to fill out,” said Robinson.
Robinson believes Coastal is doing a great job when it comes to making arrangements for this semester. Yet, while Robinson commends CCU for providing so many social distancing tools, she does not believe it will continue to thrive considering other factors that will come into play.
“It is very hard for a college to be able to [govern] so many students, especially when you get a large number of them,” said Robinson. “However, I’m just seeing all of these [institutions] opening up; all these cases spiking and then [universities] having to close down again.”
Nevertheless, she feels as though students should not have returned. Robinson suggests not opening campus for the rest of 2020, and then reopening when the spring semester arrives.
Senior accounting major, Mary Tyler, shared her input about how she is dealing with Zoom classes. She feels more relaxed when her professors do not require a camera to be on while class is in session, because it allows her to focus more on what the professor is saying.
“When [Covid-19] first hit most of my [professors] transitioned very well by posting videos and doing Zoom when they could,” said Tyler. “This semester I think it has gone pretty well so far; I do hope to be in the classroom [soon], but if not, Zoom is manageable.”
If it were up to Tyler, she would ensure that professors record every class in the event a student could not connect to Zoom.
“I know some [instructors] are not [recording]. Half of mine are and half of mine aren’t so if our internet was down it would be nice to be able to go back and still participate in the class by viewing the video,” Tyler said.
Alexis Sweet, senior management major, feels she had a good grasp on how classes were going to go before they started.
“The emails and the live Facebook [feed] the University was putting out for us gave us [a great] insight on what things were going to look like,” she said.
Sweet has multiple classes involving group work, so she was relieved to receive knowledge of who she was working with beforehand. Zoom classes feel strange for Sweet, because while she has taken an online course through CCU before, she has not used this type of medium. However, she enjoys the fact that Zoom allows it to feel like a real classroom with group meetings.
“One thing [she] thinks that could be [difficult] for a lot of students right now is the [the many] platforms; some professors are using Moodle, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom,” Sweet said. “It can be a bit overwhelming in between classes having to figure out and remember [which program] this class is on.”
Sweet applauds CCU for all they are doing academically, by sending out mass surveys and making adjustments for their students to have the best fall semester possible. If it were up to Sweet, she would have one platform for classes, because using various websites has been immensely grueling. She believes that if the school did that, they could of had training webinars to go more in depth with the chosen platform.
Senior business management major, Patrick Miller, obtained numerous emails from his professors stating that students had to choose either face-to-face instruction or online come September. While he heard from most of his professors, he had to reach out to one of them prior to the beginning of classes. Based on that experience and classes thus far, Miller realized that not all professors are able to adjust to this new norm of virtual learning.
He said he observed the professor from the first week as the class progressed and noticed an improvement in the way this lecturer conducted his lessons. Yet, while Miller choose to live stream for the month of September, he still holds concerns about the changes that will happen once face-to-face classes begin.
“I’m definitely interested to see what’s going to happen this next month because on top of what is happening it is a very live hurricane season,” Miller said.
Miller admires Coastal’s efforts to notify students about what the semester was going to look like before returning to campus. He enjoys the fact that CCU promoted a 30-day count for students’ arrival, but he does advocate that the best way to reach students is through social media.
Miller suggests that CCU tries methods like filling out surveys each time a student arrives on campus, so that the school could be more informed when it comes to students’ health. He also recommends that there be security checking on CINO cards for when in-person classes commence, so there is more awareness as to where students go to on campus.
“Students, do not abuse the fact that we are back [because] it can be quickly taken away from us,” Miller said. “Towson University, a school in Maryland where I’m from, came back to school and people immediately started exploiting the fact that they could party and in one day they added 66 new cases on campus and they were [instantly] shut down and they are now completely online.”
Miller is asking students to work together and be smart under the given circumstances. He knows it is not convenient or fun, but if students want in-person classes, there needs to be discipline.