How students are handling the transition to online classes

Written By Tia Bailey

Point Park, along with many other universities, moved their students off-campus and their classes to an online format for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester due to the coronavirus. This is new territory for everyone involved, for both professors and students.

On March 13, Point Park students began to receive email updates on what the next steps were. It started with large group events being canceled; then, classes were moved online, but students were able to stay on campus and then finally, students were encouraged to move back home to resume classes online remotely.

How are Point Park students handling the transition to the online format?

Many students from different universities have taken to Twitter to speak and vent about their experiences thus far. A lot of students have been pointing out that some professors are assigning more work to make up for lost class time rather than easing up due to the circumstances.

It’s safe to say that students are stressed with this change. Senior broadcast reporting major Lindsay Carson is getting ready to graduate and was not expecting her final year of college to end this way.

“It’s been a tough transition,” Carson said. “With my major especially, it’s been an adjustment.”

Carson was used to having a set schedule, and now things are “chaotic” since everyone was thrown into this situation.

“No one expected this, and it isn’t the school’s fault,” Carson said. “They did what they had to do.”

A struggle for Carson is the fact that in some classes, the course load is the same as if they are still attending in-person classes. In order to stay on track, Carson has been setting up reminders on her phone and has been using a planner.

“It is definitely a lot more difficult when you don’t have that routine every day,” Carson said.

Kasey Newman, a junior elementary education major, has been adjusting to the online transition as well. Most of her classes this semester were field experience-related, so the work she has now is mostly “busywork.”

Newman has been having trouble with online classes due to the learning style; online classes mean lots of visual and listening-based lessons, but Newman is a hands-on learner. In order to keep herself on track, she has been keeping her schedule the same as it was in person.

“I do work for my classes at the time that I’d have them,” Newman said. “It forces me to stay on the same schedule.”

An option for students who may not be doing as well with online learning is the tutoring service. Matt Petras, a Point Park graduate who works at the tutoring center, offers some advice for students.

“Something I’ve been doing is still maintaining a routine,” Petras said. “So waking up at a certain time, brushing my teeth and doing what I have to do.”

It will vary person-to-person on what works for them, according to Petras. Something he recommends avoiding is staying up super late and messing with your sleep schedule.

He does recommend considering tutoring if students are falling behind.

“Ask tutors for help,” Petras said. “There’s no problem asking for help; make an appointment online.”

Another option students have is to take the pass/no credit option for their classes. Assistant Provost Dr. Jonas Prida has been working to get information on this option out to students and will be hosting a web seminar on the subject where students can ask questions.

Prida offers advice for professors and students.

“For faculty, the most difficult thing was they had to [move classes online] in a week,” Prida said. “If they wanted to teach an online course, this isn’t how they’d want to do it.”

Prida thinks the best thing professors can do for students right now is to provide normalcy, and make class as close as possible to how it was before, in addition to having compassion for their students.

Prida recommends students to be prepared — if your family is sharing one computer, work out a schedule so you all can use it, even if that means working early in the morning. He also advises taking advantage of all the apps you have on your phone, like the notes app.

“Use technology you may have blown off,” Prida said.

As far as what to avoid doing, pretending everything is going to be fine if you don’t do your work. Prida encourages students to reach out to their professors for help.

Prida wants students to know that things will go back to normal and avoid the sense of “it will always be like this.”

“In the fall, we’ll all come back to school and be like, ‘That was weird, right?’” Prida said.