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NIU students, faculty react to starting the semester online

DeKalb – NIU students and faculty received news that, while expected, might not have been the most encouraging to hear. Online learning will return for all courses on January 18-25.

As of the week of January 4th, the Positive rate It is 13% and the university has made the decision to start online since students and staff all returning at the same time will likely increase that number.

Joe King, Associate Director of Corporate Communications said in an email.

Students give different reactions

Devlin Collins, president of the State Student Association, hopes students will take this opportunity to look at their curriculum and get a head start in class, rather than treat the week as extra time for vacation.

As important as the first week of term is, Junior Marketing Student and Head of Delta Chi Alexandre Bueno believes the university’s decision to go remotely temporarily is wise given the circumstances.

“People travel during vacation and people go to see family and other friends they haven’t seen in a long time,” Bueno said. “So I feel it’s wise for the first week.”

The university’s announcement marks the first time this academic year that learning has become remote due to COVID-19, but most students have dealt with this uncertainty before.

“As long as we’re keeping the transmission rates low this semester, as long as we’re implementing it as a policy, we shouldn’t have a problem with being virtual for the rest of the semester,” Collins said.

Bueno feels that some students may be concerned that they have been in this situation before in the spring of 2020.

“They said they were extending the rest period by one week, then they extended it by two weeks and then finally made the decision to go completely online,” Bueno said.

While some students worry about the possibility of a completely remote classroom, others are hopeful.

said Michelle Opalinsky, a new health science major. “I think in all of this we should be online for the rest of the semester.”

Opalinsky acknowledged that the state could not only shut down everything, but believed that returning to normal activities and going to school as usual would not be beneficial.

The faculty wish they had more time to prepare

Faculty and staff have been notified about the first week of classes being conducted remotely at the same time as students, so they have limited time to switch their lesson plans set up for in-person classes to be now online.

Communications professor Ferald Bryan wishes the NIU would announce the start of online advertising earlier, but he understands why the decision was made.

“I wasn’t too surprised,” Brian said. “I actually expected it a little earlier because I saw the news from sister institutions you know, ‘We’re putting things off for two weeks or going online for a while,’ so I wasn’t too surprised. I wish I had gotten a little more notice but at least I have a week to get ready. right Now “.

Brian said that’s a challenge because one of the courses he’s taking next semester has never been online, so it would be difficult for him to prepare for even a week. He’s taught his other class online before, so he said that’s half the battle.

“Most of us have had really good transfer training, I have to say transition to online learning,” Brian said. Most of us have had good training from the Innovative Teaching Office on how to do this. Just having to do this in a short amount of time is definitely the challenge, especially for those new prep I have for this spring.”

Brian believes, based on other schools’ announcement that they have started remotely in their first two weeks, an online NIU start could last longer than one week.

Some students will be able to adapt to online learning more than others, Brian said, while others would prefer it in person.

“The numbers are scary and I don’t want to put anyone in an uncomfortable position,” Brian said. “Obviously, if students want to do face to face, they have to feel comfortable in that context.”

School of Theater and Dance professor Alexander Gilman said he knew nothing of starting online in the first week before the January 7 email.

“The class I teach is pretty much the classes I’ve taught over the past year, and they’ve all been all online, and it’s unfortunate that this is not a new area,” Gilman said. “I think in many ways the new challenges you know compared to that is planning something that may or may not last online.”

Gilman said he fully trusts his students to continue to do their work and stay involved since he has taught fourth-year undergraduates as well as graduate students who have all been trained to do online classes.

“If I had the discretion and scientific data to support the wisdom of such a decision, I would go back to teaching in person,” Gilman said.

Gilman said this is due to the fact that he teaches an art that is meant to be done in front of an audience. Teaching online makes this difficult but not impossible.

“It was quite a challenge the whole time,” Gilman said. “I think the goal is not to provide the same experience, but, you know, whatever is a limitation comes with advantages and disadvantages and I think the goal is always to take advantage of the advantages and reduce the disadvantages. It is unrealistic to say it is the same experience.”

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