In-person classes have finally made their long-awaited return.
University of Oregon professors and students said they are both anxious and eager to be on campus once again. While the return to campus is met mostly with excitement, some are wondering how the hiatus from in-person instruction will affect future classes. Throughout the struggles of virtual learning, however, students and professors found ways to make the best out of their new situations.
Sophomore Joey Le spent his freshman year at UO completely online and is happy to finally be on campus. During the year online, Le enjoyed some aspects of remote learning, like having recorded lectures. “I’d say recorded lectures are pretty handy, and you can go at your own pace with the time,” Le said. “That is one of the features that made online more flexible than in-person.”
As classes became remote, professors offered online office hours to accommodate students. Economics professor Ben Hansen said having certain classes over Zoom made them more interactive by including live quizzes and randomized breakout groups.
“Something I didn’t directly experience, but heard from some other faculty, was that when they were teaching a really large lecture class, there were some parts that helped the Zoom instruction be more engaging,” he said.
For certain classes, virtual office hours allowed professors to share information with students without struggle. “When it came to sharing computer code, especially in office hours… that actually made sharing code and sharing results often a lot easier,” Hansen said.
Coming into the fall, Hansen plans to implement new features in his classes. He wants to offer both in-person and online office hours and continue to record his lectures. Hansen also said he enjoyed how easy it was to create breakout rooms in Zoom during class. “I don’t know how to randomize discussion groups in an in-person class in any way that doesn’t take like 20 minutes of coordination,” he said.
Seth Harrington, a student in the UOTeach program, said having classes over Zoom led to some unique interactions with professors that he wouldn’t find in person. “I know that sometimes office hours are at incompatible times,” he said. “If it’s online, it's easier to work with the professor because it’s just clicking a button instead of arranging two people’s schedules to meet on campus.”
Harrington said he likes when professors post lecture slides on Canvas to make them more accessible.
Andrew Hendrickson, a UO transfer student who is taking his first in-person classes at UO this fall, said he liked online classes because they worked around his personal schedule.
While professors are working to make their classes more accommodating for students with COVID-19 concerns, Hansen said he thinks a return to in-person classes is much needed.
“We’re all in the same boat together trying to figure out how to balance the fact that people need flexibility, but also with organization and deadlines. That is just a preview of what your life holds after college,” Hansen said. “View all of this as a chance to learn and practice and adjust to how the world is continually changing as well.”