Staff Report | Q&A compiled by staffers and multimedia journalism classes
A-State students are living through an unprecedented time due to coronavirus. A lot of students were forced to move out of their dorms and had to adapt to online classes. Students of all ranks and majors have been affected and some shared their experiences so far.
Freshman Becca Wertenberger is a music education major from Bryant, Arkansas.
Sophomore Kara Blankenship is a psychology and biology major from Marion, Arkansas.
Junior Abby Antici is a communication disorders major from Batesville, Arkansas.
Senior Carson Ecker is a theatre major from Bryant.
Q: What do you think about having classes online for the rest of the semester? Have you had any challenges?
Wertenberger: Obviously having online classes for the rest of the semester is not ideal, however I think my professors have done a great job with the transition to online classes. It has been kind of difficult keeping up with everything now that we aren’t meeting face to face every day, but my professors have been pretty understanding for the most part, so that definitely helps.
Blankenship: I agree with the decision, let me put that out there first. It’s the right move. COVID-19 is a beast we need to tackle head-on. That being said, it is putting a lot of students into a tricky situation. Many have been required to move off campus, so they’re having difficulty connecting to the internet. It’s especially troublesome for those who have family at home also working through the internet, live somewhere where there is poor internet, cannot afford reliable internet, or those who have fallen victim to the tornados.
I can talk about how I paid for one class and got another, or how I miss my professors and friends. But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is that they’re really hurting students with suboptimal conditions at home. Many of them are first generation college students that are being given a great disadvantage that may hinder them from finishing their bachelor’s degree as planned, or evermore troublesome, put a dent in their transcript that holds them back from many post-bachelor plans.
Antici: Under normal circumstances, I try to avoid taking online classes. I find that I retain more information from in-person lectures than I do from online classes.
However, I think having class online for the rest of the semester was the only option our university had during this pandemic. The professors seem to be trying their hardest to make the transition to online learning as painless as possible for their students.
Ecker: I don’t really care for it. The main pro is that we don’t have to worry about getting sick from other people. The cons are that I’m having to rely on technology that may or may not work on any given day and that will determine my grade.
Professors have also added more assignments making it harder to complete anything. It’s also a struggle to fully know what’s due and when or just what each class is doing in general.
Q: What do you think about the credit/no credit option for final grades for this semester? Will you take that option in any of your classes if it is offered? Why or why not?
Wertenberger: I think it’s good that the university is offering the credit/no credit option for final grades given our current situation. I’m not sure if I will take that option for any of my classes yet, it will depend on what my grades look like at the end of the semester. However, knowing that I have that option helps me feel a little less stressed about the rest of this semester.
Blankenship: I don’t know the conversations leading up to that decision, but what they’ve done — from the students’ perspective — is a cop-out.
“Hey this option is readily available to you because your entire educational foundation has been ripped to shreds; But, if you use it, your scholarships and post-grad plans may be slaughtered”
Seriously? Why even give the option then? There are no safeguards in place for us. Sure, if you’re ending with your Bachelor’s degree and paying out of pocket, , maybe that can work. But what about the students that want to go further? What of the kids who are only going to college because they have these scholarships? We have been thrown into online classes. Some of our poor professors have never even used blackboard. We really expect students to receive the best quality education and thus the best possible grades? It simply isn’t feasible. An “optional” credit/no credit isn’t optional at all. We know we only have one choice: suffer through and take the hit.
I love my university. I love the faculty here. I love my professors. I know they have my best interest at heart. But I need something different. What we’re doing is going to hurt a lot of students.
Antici: I think giving students the option to have their final grades appear as credit/non credit on their transcripts is a good idea. However, I will not be using this option because I plan to attend graduate school. Some of the graduate schools I am applying to are out of state and I am unsure how they would view credit/non credit courses in terms of admittance.
Ecker: I think it’s a good option to have. I will more than likely take it in all my classes because I don’t feel confident in any of them anymore, and most professors don’t seem concerned with making our lives any easier.
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