Since Chancellor Patrick Gallagher announced on Mar. 11 that the semester would be online-only after spring break, the professors of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg have been preparing to adjust to the online classes from our traditional in-person courses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Professors and students alike attempt to adjust to an ever-changing predicament with the epidemic and not being used to completing our studies online when used to traditional in-person classes.
When readjusting to the courses, the professors on campus have needed to take into consideration that not every student may not be able to have a stable internet connection and the technological capability of the student when thinking about keeping in touch with large groups of people. Some of the classes have adjusted to using the communication program, Zoom, to hold classes and virtual office hours for students.
Assistant Professor of History Dr. Pilar Herr changed her upper-level history classes to have group discussions on Monday and Wednesday over Zoom about the reading material for the week while holding virtual office hours on Friday during class time. Dr. Herr also continued to record her lectures for her survey courses using Panopto and adjusted her reading quizzes to be timed while allowing students to redo the test in fourteen hours to adjust from reading quizzes being individual to going into groups.
“I’m trying to make my classes as stress free as possible for the students when creating internet alternatives for teaching my history classes.” Dr. Herr said about her adjustment that is still ongoing.
For some other classes, professors use discussion boards or Zoom meetings to discuss class reading material in larger groups, such as in American Literature classes taught by Dr. Elisa Beshero-Bondar, assistant professor of English
“I asked my students if they wanted to hold Zoom meetings as well as the discussion boards to talk about the classroom meeting, and they all agreed which I felt was meaningful because I feel we need the classroom mentality more than ever.” Dr. Beshero-Bondar said.
The times of having regular classes have changed due to the recent changes as students and faculty alike adjust to coursework all being done. The change affects everyone differently, and it is hard to know what kind of circumstances affects each student.
Dr. Beshero-Bondar also gives her advice to students and faculty alike.
“It is important that we try to stay connected as we can through working on a meaningful assignment to stay engaged with classroom material,” she said.
University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg students now adjust to a different education landscape as classes continue after the extended Spring Break and the ever-changing situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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