By Jessica Hernandez Blanco
After only about 10 weeks of sitting next to each other in class on Barry’s campus, Barry students are now scattered throughout the world, finishing the semester.
Spring 2020 took everyone by surprise, and college life is not the same.
Unfortunately, campus life is suspended until further notice and the university is working remotely.
Online versions of classes officially began on March 30 after an unexpected period of adaptation that was caused by the Coronavirus.
The chaos faced by the university during this crisis has been felt by everyone.
Every school has faced challenges -- changes to several class syllabi have been made, service-learning hours have been cancelled, labs have been suspended labs, and the nursing school will have an early graduation.
Barry University is not alone in this challenge.
Around the world, universities and schools in several countries have transitioned to online classes in an effort to continue educating their students while combating the coronavirus through social distance.
Webex meetings, Canvas forums and quizzes, and new papers are part of the daily routine to which all students must adapt. Professors adjusted their class syllabi and have restructured class material to finish the coursework.
But the impact that these changes have had in every student has been different, depending on where they are, and how comfortable they feel about the new delivery method of their classes.
For many students the main problem are the new assignments that have come up due to the cancellation of presential activities.
“I do feel a bit more overwhelmed with assignments and projects,” said Makela Davis, a junior international business major.
But she is not the only one.
Janika Koelblin, a junior psychology student, also notices the difference in professors’ class preparation when they are teaching online classes.
“The fact that the teacher and students are not in person makes the class less interactive and harder to listen,” she said.
Also, she can feel some professors’ teaching quality is not the same as they do not provide as much information as they would.
Some aspect that will bear repercussions will be midterms and finals, which count as high portions of the grade.
Two other important struggles are distraction and connectivity as Juane Griffin, a sophomore, business management major, and Joelle Lusambo, a senior international studies major, have both pointed out.
Davis also feels constant family distractions and poor connectivity messed with her focus and learning as she has to deal with all of it during class time.
“My main issues are net connectivity, noise at home, and the many distractions I face. It is not easy for me to just get up and go to the library like I would at school,” she said.
“Where I live, the net is not the best, which I find it sometimes as a disadvantage because I never know when it will cut off or buffer while I am taking a quiz, test, or even during class. I have had instances where I am in class and my net buffers three to four times, and it becomes extremely frustrating.” Davis said.
The difficulties of transitioning to online learning mid-semester are real.
Many students believe that this change will have a negative impact on their grades. However, students recognize that many professors have considered student struggles and have helped them by extending deadlines and working individually with them.
The changes have also been overwhelming for professors who needed to adapt a new format for their classes and in only three days.
Fortunately, Jeffrey Larson, director of the Office of Distance Education quickly prepared professors on how to take advantage of Barry’s online resources to continue with their class instruction.
Last minute workshops were prepared for faculty members prior to going remote. Faculty courses included the use of Canvas, Webex and Screencasting, which they learned in less than a week.
The efforts of the faculty team, professors, and students have teamed up together to continue the Barry experience online during the Coronavirus hit.
Might this unexpected experience mean new majors will be offered online at Barry in the near future? The answer is still unknown.