University president Stephen Standifird announced plans for the 2021 spring semester on Wednesday and while it may feel disappointing that hybrid model classes will continue, they’re also necessary given the current state of our world.
Unless a vaccine or herd immunity is achieved, social distancing and virtual events will endure. Now that we know the reality of higher education during a pandemic, we can better prepare and adapt.
According to Standifird’s announcement, the deadline for professors to apply for remote learning is Monday, Oct. 5. Advising will begin Nov. 9 and early registration on Nov. 12.
With that, the university should plan on letting students know which classes will be virtual as they make their schedules.
One of the major gripes from the fall semester was the lack of control over class schedules. Students picked their courses last spring or over the summer and saw their schedule dramatically transform because professors were given until mid-August to determine whether or not their class would be remote. Student schedules were not finalized until Aug. 18, less than a week before classes began.
While the last-minute decisions were understandable given the circumstances, we’re in a different position now. Professors should have a better idea of whether or not they want to go remote.
By now, students are understanding how they learn best, whether it’s in the physical classroom or virtually. Maybe there are certain courses they can anticipate struggling to participate and keep up with in a virtual environment. Maybe there are other courses they can predict handling better in the same environment.
If the university does grant students the opportunity to pick their courses knowing whether they’re hybrid, online or completely in-person, we hope students will seriously consider what works best for themselves. We also hope academic advising will bring out these honest conversations.
Knowing this information will also better determine if they want to live on, near campus or if they want to stay remote for the spring semester.
Going to college during a pandemic is frustrating and often makes us feel powerless. Now that we understand our situation more, we have a better grasp of long-term plans. By knowing the status of classes before choosing them, students can be granted some sense of control.