Week two of online courses is officially done, and students are working to adjust accordingly.
The change benefited some students, such as Tyler Dodd, a junior broadcast journalism major. Dodd did not have access to the books required for his classes before classes were moved online. The high costs of books are a problem for many students, but the university made online book services available for all students because of the pandemic.
“I try to do everything cheaper,” Dodd said. “I try to get the books online, like a PDF file, but now I’m pretty much using online services.”
For Savannah Armistead, it has not been so easy.
The freshman elementary education student said she has felt overwhelmed and disorganized during the crisis. She had to move back home to Columbia, Missouri, which is seven hours away from Oxford. Instead of having her own space within her dorm room, Armistead now shares her space among her five siblings and her parents.
“Trying to get into a routine at home has been really difficult,” said Armistead. “I’ve become the teacher of the household while my parents work in the other room, so managing schoolwork and also my siblings’ schoolwork has been a really big challenge.”
Armistead has the resources to complete her schoolwork, like books and an internet connection, but having a household of eight people means the connection can be unreliable with everyone on it at once. Even when her internet connection is reliable, online classes can differ greatly from in-person ones.
“Most of my professors have been really great about communication with students and holding Zoom classes,” said Armistead. “But other professors have simply thrown all the assignments online for the rest of the year with no communication and no guidance.”
Online classes tend to have a heavier workload, according to some students. It stems from not only having to complete homework and study for tests, but students have to teach themselves more of the material. Allyn Flautt, a senior biology major, finds it difficult to stay focused on her work.
“It has not been the easiest,” said Flautt. “I have no motivation to actually sit down and get my school work done when I’m not having to go to class on campus.”
The University allows undergraduates the option to change a grade of C or better to a Z grade and a C- or D to a P, or Passing grade. The change is in response to the suspension of in-person instruction because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think it’s only fair given our sudden and unexpected changes in learning style,” said Flautt.
The spring semester is filled with several awards ceremonies to reflect and appreciate the work students have put in over the past couple of years. However, the majority are postponed until a later date. Some of these are the class of 2020 commencement and the Who’s Who ceremony, which recognizes students with academic, community service and leadership achievement.
“It’s sad not having an on-time graduation or Who’s Who ceremony to recognize our hard work over the past four years,” said Flautt. “All of the things we were looking forward to as seniors in our last two months of school have been taken from us, but I would much rather save a life by staying home.”