By Fiona Liu
Stillman News Writer
As the fall semester comes to an end, students and faculty alike are wondering what the spring semester is going to be like. One thing is for certain, and that is the freedom for students to choose remote learning once again. The University has adopted the HyFlex plan once again, where students will only go in for their respective classes once a week on a rotational basis. This email was sent out to the students of Seton Hall back in October, but many are still wondering if there will by any changes.
The cons in remote learning far outweigh the pros, but many professors have voiced that they would rather stay at home for their own safety. That is understandable, as they have families to go home to, as well. Many professors see how remote learning has been very challenging for certain students, but better for others. Those who typically multitask and hold themselves accountable still stay involved on campus through remote club meetings, projects, and virtual office hours. On the other hand, some students find it hard to stay engaged through a computer screen. These effects are evident to professors as they get exam results back and visibly notice the lack of participation in discussions as well.
To drive engagement, professors at Seton Hall plan on implementing more “collaborative projects and encouraging more group discussions among the students,” said Professor Benjamin Pearl, a faculty member in the Department of Computer and Decision Sciences. Professor Pearl is one of the many professors at Seton Hall who noticed the lack of connection with students in the virtual setting. He said he misses “seeing students in the same classroom and that personal connection he gets to thankfully build with all of his students.” From his experience with teaching this past spring when the coronavirus first forced everyone home to his current role this fall term, he has realized that “students could be doing six other things all while being ‘physically’ present.” Many professors like him are working on a more interactive spring semester for students, since it is what they deserve in return for their tuition.
Although the current situation is not ideal for faculty and students, the best we can do is stay hopeful that the new normal will allow students back in the classroom one day. The new normal has allowed faculty and students to explore alternatives to meeting in person and getting things done. Many events and clubs are done virtually, allowing students to hop on calls and meet with members from all over the United States on platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. The students have found new ways to stay involved and maintain that campus relationship, so there is no doubt that the spring semester will lead to more accomplishments in this unprecedented setting. Professors have managed to keep up with the fall semester and outline their plans for the spring to better the opportunity for engagement.
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