Professors respond to the shift to online classes

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With classes being moved to remote learning due to COVID-19, both professors and students have had to adjust.  Photo by Maggie Chafouleas/The Daily Campus

With classes being moved to remote learning due to COVID-19, both professors and students have had to adjust. Photo by Maggie Chafouleas/The Daily Campus

Professors have been adjusting to online teaching as the University of Connecticut moved to remote learning for all students due to COVID-19.

Dr. Lesley Frame, assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering, said the change to online classes has been difficult, but flexibility and creativity for delivering content have been very important.

“It is certainly challenging, but I think that everyone has proven to be remarkably resourceful and flexible … I think that this has certainly forced us to become a little more creative in how we deliver content,” Frame said. “Some of the changes are working well, and others are proving to be more challenging.”

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Not only are students facing the frustration and anxiety that is hitting all of us during the pandemic, but they are also trying to navigate massive shifts in their learning opportunities. It would be unreasonable to not be at least a little flexible during this constant transition.

Frame also said that she is trying to be more understanding of the situations of individual students as UConn shifts online. She recognized that each student’s situation is different, so Frame said understanding this is an important part of the transition.

“Some are stuck on campus away from their families, some are now at home in a busy and over-packed house, some are off-campus and feeling isolated,” Frame said. “Not only are students facing the frustration and anxiety that is hitting all of us during the pandemic, but they are also trying to navigate massive shifts in their learning opportunities. It would be unreasonable to not be at least a little flexible during this constant transition.”

Dr. John Redden, associate professor-in-residence in the Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, is also being flexible with the deadlines for his courses. Due to the other factors at play, though, Redden is hesitant to say his coursework is easier.

“Even though the work continues, deadlines are extremely fluid in all of my classes right now,” Redden said. “I don’t know that I would say things are necessarily ‘easier,’ though, especially if we consider all of the factors outside the course that can impact a student’s ability to succeed.”

Redden said that his courses already utilized some level of technology in the learning process, helping the transition process for him and his students. He said that he has been using his familiarity with the process to help his colleagues who may not have the same level of experience.

“I am a bit of an exception because I already incorporate a lot of technology into my courses, so it hasn’t been as much of a shock for me or my students as it has been for others,” Redden said. “I have spent a lot of time over the past few weeks working with other faculty members to try to help them to set up tech solutions for their courses in HuskyCT, WebEx, Collaborate, etc.” 

Redden feels that communication is critical for both students and faculty. He emphasized that there are resources available to students to help lessen the burden at the present time.

“Communicate your needs if you are able to, and take advantage of the on-campus resources that are available, like DOS, to make sure that you have what you need,” Redden said. “Speaking only for myself, I will be cautious drawing any conclusions from students’ grades this semester, good or bad. I’m sure that many others agree.”

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Thomas Alvarez is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at thomas.alvarez@uconn.edu.

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