University of Arkansas students and faculty received an email from Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz Thursday, March 12, announcing that the University would suspend in-person classes and move to all-online course delivery.
This announcement followed a wave of academic institutions deciding to shift online in order to lessen the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
For students and faculty who traditionally attend and teach classes on campus, this shift to online classes has required everyone to adapt to new ways of learning.
There is a misconception that online work is easier, when really it requires more intentional planning, said Takama Statton-Brooks, University Housing’s director of residence education.
Student Brooke Henry, a senior, said the adjustment to online courses has been difficult.
“The hardest part has been learning how the class will proceed and finding the motivation to complete online assignments,” Henry said.
Certain courses require students to meet during their usual class time via Collaborate Ultra on Blackboard. Other courses have recorded lectures and end-of-week due dates, which allows students increased flexibility to complete assignments.
It is important to remember that professors and faculty, as well as students, have never dealt with a situation such as this.
“My professors have worked hard to simulate an in-person learning environment and maintain the goals of the class,” Henry said.
Freshman Sophia Chier says the transition was difficult at first, but she has gotten used to it now.
Both Chier and Henry advise creating a schedule and holding yourself to it. Time management skills are essential!
Chier lived at Founders Hall this year and felt pretty stressed when she had to move out.
“It is sad that students won’t get to experience the end of the year together,” Chier said. “But it’s necessary for us to have moved out before anything serious could have happened.”
Asking students to leave the spaces they called home for the last seven months was not an easy decision, Statton-Brooks said.
“University Housing wanted to ensure that students were aware they could remain on campus if they were experiencing extenuating circumstances,” Statton-Brooks said.
About 180 students were allowed to remain on campus in housing due to special circumstances.
On Wednesday, April 8, another university email announced that returning students would receive a credit for room and board costs lost after April 3 and that tuition will be held flat for at least the Fall 2020 semester.