It’s now been a week since Southern Utah University entered the uncharted territory of entirely online instruction, and going to school now looks different for both students and faculty.
Each course has unique adjustments such as moving from classroom instruction to Zoom instruction and group projects to group chats. Normally an online instruction system takes months to develop, but the SUU faculty have adapted well with the little time they had.
“It’s very overwhelming at times but overall I’m impressed with how well our faculty has adjusted so quickly,” said sophomore pre-nursing major Jenacie Boren.
However, the unexpected transition and quick integration of online courses have caused both instructors and students to face unexpected challenges.
“Staring for hours at homework on a screen makes school so much more difficult. It’s hard for me not to have that one-on-one interaction with my professors and classmates,” continued Boren.
This lack of interaction is one of the many recently discovered challenges. Students and professors alike have found many barriers from not having access to a good Wi-Fi connection, distractions at home, or technical trouble with Zoom when talking to instructors or fellow students.
Some majors seem to be having a harder time transitioning to the new online format compared to others.
“As an art major I have the entire day to do my projects in my apartment with very limited resources and limited instruction,” expressed sophomore studio art major Jessica Berri.
However, while issues are rising up, SUU is rising to meet them. Many professors and students expressed that a motivating factor behind all of this is their love for learning and passion for teaching. No matter how inconvenient the situation, it is helping to keep students, staff and the community safe.
There are many silver linings to this pandemic-induced situation. Canvas is still operational. SUU staff and faculty are staying on top of updates and doing everything they can to make this smooth and enjoyable for everyone.
“I get to wear my pajamas to school every day,” expressed sophomore psychology major William Heck. “You don’t have to wear pants to class, you don’t have to worry about being somewhere and you can do things on your own time.”
Many students and staff are taking the title of “The University of the Parks” to the next level by spending the school day outdoors for some welcome sunshine.
“It is a drastic change and a long process and we are just at the beginning of it. I believe it will get better with time and this global situation is going to give us that time,” said Spanish professor Carlos Bertoglio.
Whether struggling with this transition or thriving in it, no one is alone. The independence from instructors and social distancing can be challenging, but this is an opportunity for students to personalize their education and make it their own.
Story by Larissa Beatty
Photos Courtesy of Unsplash.com