UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Transition to online classes: a student’s perspective

College students across Massachusetts have been adjusting to online courses since the beginning of March. A transition from an in-person style of learning to a remote style of learning has had its ups and downs for University of Massachusetts Boston students of every academic level.

In an interview with some students, they were asked how their transition to online classes has been for them. Abbey Basile, a freshman, stated, “It’s been alright. I like being able to go to class in the comfort of my own home, but I really miss the face-to-face interactions with my professors, classmates and friends that being on campus provided me with.”

A sophomore, Viktor Teague, responded, “For the most part I wouldn’t have thought it would come to this, but here we are. The transition to online classes was not too much of a shock. In many cases it’s been quite nice. I don’t have to wake up early to get to my 8 a.m. class. My teachers were able to effectively transition themselves to still teach us to the best of their abilities.”

Allison Kreiley, a junior, responded, “The transition itself was easy because I am lucky enough to have a home with internet connection and a great desk space. Unfortunately, this is not the case for all students.” All three students expressed that the transition to online courses was not difficult, except for a few courses that have labs attached to the lecture course.

Various professors have taken to different ways of teaching their courses remotely, whether through Zoom meetings or through assignments and video recordings of lectures. When asked what has been their most difficult course since starting remote classes, there was consensus in the interview of science courses being the most difficult due to either the style the professor has chosen to conduct their way of teaching or if it was a class that has a lab attached to it. Kreiley stated, “The hardest classes are those that the professor assigns entire chapters to cover and review at our own pace. This is difficult because we are asked to go over the material separately, and then also attend classes where we are supposed to ask questions. This almost triples the workload of one class because the material we are supposed to review is more than the material we would ever realistically cover in the class.” Basile response was, “My hardest online class has been a science course I take; we can’t do a lot of the hands-on work we had done in class in order to understand the concepts.”

When asked if courses had become harder since transition to remote learning, general consensus was that professors had become accommodating to their students to ease their transition into a remote way of learning. Teague stated, “I would say the professors have weakened their grip a little mainly because of the transition is something that some kids may not be able to handle as well as some others might be able to. The teachers know that the performance of their students would fall mainly because the atmosphere that you get from working in a school has now been lost. Where once you were surrounded by friends and peers you are now surrounded by distractions. And this is not to mention the pressure we’re all going over with this COVID-19 running around, and restricting and changing lives in days and weeks.” Kreiley stated, “Most professors have been very lenient with granting assignment extensions, and for that I am grateful. However, the professors that require us ‘to learn at our pace’ are creating hours of extra class time and work that would never be required for us for an in-person setting.” Basile’s response was, “A lot of my professors have been very accommodating during this time, and have given my class more time to do major assignments and more flexibility. However, I feel as though other professors have not at all decreased the amount of work they are giving, or have, actually, increased it, and try to continue full-steam ahead despite this being a difficult, transitional time.”

The transition to online classes has been different for every student and professor, whether through adjusting to a new schedule or a different technique of learning. When asked if they thought UMass Boston students would be returning to campus in the fall, the answers varied. Teague stated, “Mainly from what I know about viruses and how they react to weather, I would say yes, we will be back in the fall. But if the virus were to reveal itself again and come back, we would all know the risk we would be taking if we kept thousands of young people confined in spaces with a virus that spreads so easily. That would end very badly.” Kreiley stated, “I don’t believe that we will be returning in the fall. This is based off projections of when the virus is thought to have stabilized in all parts of the world. We have international students from practically every country that come to class and the on-going hiring freeze has increased class sizes to sometimes 200-plus students in one classroom. Paired with students who live in the dorms, it is unrealistic to believe that the United States will be ready to have a 15,000-plus community rejoin together in such close contact.” Basile stated, “I think that it’s really hard to know where the world will in the fall. I sure hope we can go back to campus by the fall, but I think it’s impossible to tell right now.”

About the Contributor
Genevieve Santilli, News Writer