Students, staff acclimate after 1st week

Ryan Meyer, Reporter

Friday marks the end of Eastern’s first week using remote learning. Students and professors alike shared their thoughts on the transition to these unfamiliar methods.

Nolan Webb, a graduate student studying sports administration, thinks classes have become less challenging.

“If anything, they’ve gotten simpler,” Webb said. “My professors are doing a great job communicating and have set up my classmates and I in a position to succeed in the epidemic.”

But not all students share Webb’s sentiment. Some, like junior technology major Eli Ruter, find it harder to focus at home.

“I’m doing O.K., definitely have zero motivation,” Ruter said. “All of (my professors) are fine because I’m a technology major and all the classes can be taught online anyway, it’s just the Wi-Fi lags that’s an issue.”

Technical difficulties and not having access to the necessary resources are common challenges faced by many college students. Many universities and companies are beginning to rely on the videoconferencing application Zoom to conduct lessons and meetings in a virtual setting, which could possibly be a risk to students’ privacy.

According to an article entitled “New York Attorney General Looks Into Zoom’s Privacy Practices,” written by Danny Hakim and Natasha Singer in the New York Times, there have been questions raised about Zoom’s privacy and security due to instances of hackers interrupting sessions.

Many universities are even changing their grading methods to make the situation easier for students.

In an article written by Lilah Burke from insidehighered.com, she wrote that some university officials think switching to pass or fail grading methods will provide stability during a time of uncertainty.

“University provosts and administrations have said expanding pass/fail options gives students flexibility during the crisis and can mitigate their anxiety,” Burke wrote.

At one point there was an online petition making the rounds on social media calling for a switch to pass/fail at Eastern.

Ruter can empathize with this system that is being seen at other institutions.

“Just saying I definitely understand why a bunch of schools switched to pass/fail,” he said.

Professors like Ruth Chesnut, an instructor in the life sciences department, have been doing the best they can to answer emails promptly and move their class material online.

“I’m trying my best to provide the tools that will help them learn, and to respond quickly to emails and D2L submissions,” she said.

Chesnut has taught an online course in the past that helped her become more familiar with the site’s attributes.

“I previously taught an online course so I’m more familiar with D2L than some faculty probably were,” Chesnut said. “D2L is clunky and quirky, though, and its idiosyncrasies are partly what takes up time.”

Classes being online for the remainder of the semester also reduces the impact that Eastern’s professors can have on its students.

“I see no need for my professors anymore if it’s all online,” said Ian French, a freshman digital media major. “Everything is on D2L now, so they’re no longer needed.”

Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]