His professors weigh the pros and cons of virtual education in the event of an epidemic

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On Tuesday, March 10, 2020, Sui sent an email saying that physical lessons would be banned and that classes would be offered online later Friday. The move lasted the semester online and was a roller coaster for many students.

Prior to the outbreak, most students had never taken a full course load online. When classes went a long way, professors had to convert their courses into an online model. The Daily Orange interviewed three professors who shared their experience of working remotely this summer and are transitioning to human-grade classes.

For Walter Freeman, a professor of astronomy and physics, the courses he teaches are about classroom development.

“My challenge is not to see what I write on the board,” says Freeman. I have to see what the students are doing.


Curriculum Design and Pedagogy Associate Dean, Interim Chair of African American Studies and Writing Studies, Lois Agew, has many personal aspects of teaching that are lost when learning online.

“There is a level of personal communication that you can’t find in magnification – people can’t make eye contact and give visual cues that are a natural part of communication,” she said.

Agnew noticed that many students had difficulty magnifying: sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time, such as eye strain, and anxiety.

Shannon M. Sweeney, a professor of psychology, said that students do not feel connected to the professor who teaches the class, and they find it difficult to separate when the class is far away.

“One of the disadvantages is the lack of the same energy and responsiveness,” Swei said. (Pre-recorded videos, (students) It’s hard for me to know when the content is lost… because I don’t have that kind of feedback.

However, distance learning has many benefits for both students and professors. He said it was easier to include foreign media and get people working in groups, and that it seemed more stable for students to meet outside the classroom than in front of them.

“After the discussion, it was easier to open and close the rooms than to try to get people to choose who they wanted to work with and to attract everyone’s attention,” he said. She also expressed satisfaction with the students’ commitment.

“The students were taking lessons from all over the world,” she said. I was really impressed that people continued to enjoy the class, working hard, even in the face of time, relationships, and health challenges.
Although physical education is still preferred for Agnew, Swine and Freeman, the professors say that they have now learned some distance learning in their classrooms.

According to Agwo, she learned to be more open with the students and to learn to walk “more alone.” Swinei took advantage of the situation and said that she had tried a different teaching method called the “Copy Room” model. In this practice, students learned the content on their own through videos, and were committed to applying what they learned in class.

Another advantage of distance learning is that professors are aware of the risk that students may become ill. For many professors, virtual education has made their classes inclusive and accessible.

Swinney said students may feel more comfortable talking in class or on a blackboard rather than raising their hands in class. He also said that students who speak English as a second language can pause the videos to search for words that they do not understand.

“I had to accommodate the disabled, repeat what the students told me and then respond,” Freman said. “The students were able to talk to each other and to me in real time. It was great. “

Freeman said he gave students the opportunity to interact and interact with each other by having real-time conversations. It emphasizes friendships and students’ willingness to help one another.
“That community was not built by me, but by the students,” Freeman said.

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