BLOOMSBURG – “Zoomsburg University” is the new norm for Bloomsburg University students as they transition into online learning.
COVID-19 is affecting people worldwide. According to an article by the New York Times, “Nearly four billion people on the planet – half of humanity – found themselves on Friday under some sort of order to stay in their homes.”
University students now attend class remotely through different platforms, like Zoom.
Dr. Richard Ganahl, a media and journalism professor at BU, is one professor who chose to use Zoom for his face-to-face classes.
“I feel my classrooms are highly interactive and eventually demand intense personal involvement from both the students and myself,” said Ganahl via email. “ZOOM seemed the only platform to duplicate this experience.”
Dr. Michael Shepard, a professor and chair of the department of environmental, geographical, and geological sciences at BU made his classes asynchronous. Asynchronous classes allow students to work at their own pace.
“Not every student has high-speed internet and the ability to log into video feeds,” said Shepard via email. “Many students have a lot of things going on…in this challenging time and I felt that asynchronous was the best because it lets them work when and where it works for them.”
BU students have faced many challenges with the inconsistencies between class structures and platforms.
“Asynchronous learning for me has really just meant teach myself,” said student Colin McIntyre via text message. “My professors have tried their best to include forms of interaction but at the end of each day they’re really just supplying resources and I’m either teaching myself off those or doing so with a classmate.”
Sophomore nursing major Erin Cleary said having clinicals online is very different from working in the hospital hands-on with patients. She said online clinicals do not develop her skills further.
“Clinical now is a 30-minute simulation online that is basically a video game for nurses,” said Cleary via text message. “It’s a lot different than the hospital where you get hands-on experience, but at least it’s something to help us as much as they can in this circumstance so that we don’t fall behind.”
Other universities across the U.S. are also shifting to online classes. Freshman Allison Gumienny who attends The Ohio State University said the switch to online classes is just a minor inconvenience.
“For me personally the hardest part of the transition to online classes from in-person ones is the lack of face-to-face interaction with people,” said Gumienny via text message. “It is a lot easier to feel lost and alone (both personally and academically) when you cannot physically see others around you each day.”
BU President Dr. Bashar W. Hanna said in an email to students on Thursday, “I know that this transition to virtual learning has been challenging for faculty and students alike, but it is my hope that you have become more comfortable with the new format, and more comfortable with our new normal.”
BU plans to continue all summer semester classes online.
Featured image courtesy of @bloomsburgu via Instagram