Reported by Lily Cochenour, Sydney Brackney, Jake Feldman and Jillian Wanner
In a response to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the nation, Rochester University moved all of its seated, face-to-face classes to the online format on March 19. President Brian Stogner announced that all classes would be conducted fully online until the end of the semester.
In a later update to students, Stogner wrote: "I must let you know how empty our campus feels without your presence and energy! You are sorely missed." He assured students that the university remained committed to providing an outstanding education and excellent service to its students. He continued: "I realize that these are stressful and anxiety-provoking times for you and your families. Please be assured that we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that the semester runs as smoothly as possible, and that you are able to get the services you need as you work on your studies."
RU faculty and administrators understand that online classes for every single class is not ideal, especially for certain hands-on courses. Some students might struggle with the platform.
Dr. Remylin Bruder, provost and professor, announced on March 31 that the university had expanded its grading options for the semester. "We are giving students the option to take classes for Credit (CR) in lieu of a letter grade. For this semester only, any failed course will appear as No Credit (NC), and will not count against a student’s GPA," she wrote.
Shield Media reached out to some RU students to see how they were coping with the shift to taking all their classes in the online environment. Here are their responses:
Senior nursing major
“I like being at home. During the snow days last year, we transitioned to online in our pharm class, so I think the nursing program did a good job adjusting right away. I honestly think online is best case scenario, and I’m impressed.”
Freshman psychology major with a Christian ministry minor
“Due to needing to prove we 'went to class,' the workload is heavier. I feel more stressed as I finish one thing, and two more things get added onto my list of schoolwork to do. All this makes it harder, and may end up affecting my grades.”
Junior theatre major
“For me, it’s difficult because a lot of my classes are performance-based so there is a bit of a learning curve when trying to navigate that aspect. I do like the convenience of online classes for certain subjects but definitely not for theatre.”
Junior nursing major
“The school switching to the virtual format has made things difficult for me because I am not able to accomplish my clinical hours in the hospital. I can’t get the important patient interaction that helps me learn how to be the best nurse and apply what I’m learning in class to reality. Thankfully, my professors have been flexible with the changing situations and we have been able to switch to online lectures pretty easily. Some of my assignments are similar for multiple classes, so it hasn’t been difficult to switch
from in-class to assignments to virtual assignments.”
Freshman pre-physical therapy major
“It’s pretty good so far—just professors suck at communicating with students which makes it difficult to do assignments."
Freshman health science major
“I feel like it’s a very weird and sudden change. I don’t really do well with it just because I need to hear the teacher in person to understand and to know when stuff is due and the timeline. Also I don’t have the motivation at home like I would in class or in a dorm.”
Junior education major
"With being an education major, it was difficult to transition into online classes. Many of us students are in placement classrooms, and since the epidemic, it’s been challenging adjusting to new requirements for classrooms. I really do miss that face-to-face interaction that you get in the classroom, but having Google Meet and Zoom has been awesome! I don’t think you get the same experience in online classes as traditional classes. It changes because a lot of our program is hands-on, interacting experiences. We will have to adjust to our new online classes and hopefully make up lost time and experience in our elementary/secondary classrooms in other ways. Getting that experience in the classroom is extremely important, so finding ways to make up for lost time will definitely be a challenge for all of us!"
Junior psychology major
"The hardest challenge of the transition to online classes has been staying on schedule! Also, trying to keep track of all my assignments through the millions of emails! Since I am a psychology major, it is especially hard for those in research methods, advanced experimental and psychology seminars. Doing experiments online can be difficult. It is also hard because a lot of my psych classes are very interactive, and we need to be in class for that."
Junior Christian ministry major
"Online classes have been really hard to be honest. A lot has been going on with classes, so I'm not all for it. But it's O.K."