Faculty prepare for fall semester courses to be online again. Professors discuss the challenges that arise with online teaching. (Nicole Walker/B&W Staff)

Students and faculty adjust to remote learning

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After completing the first week of remote learning, students and staff reflected on the rewards and challenges of moving classrooms to an online setting.  

Brian Davison, director of Lehigh’s undergraduate minor in data science, said it did not come as a surprise when he found out Lehigh was transitioning to online learning for the remainder of the semester.

Davison teaches CSE 160, an introductory course to data science. He said his class has already been using online resources such as CourseSite and Piazza, and most of his lectures have already been organized as PowerPoint slides. 

Davison said he has recorded all his content so students in different time zones or students traveling back home can have access. 

He said he has run into the challenge of students not showing themselves on video during his classes. He said without sharing their video, students can’t show their understanding or confusion as they can when they are in a classroom with the instructor..

“I like to be able to see the students — I like to be able to see what their reactions are,” Davison said.

However, Davison said he is seeing more participation in the form of questions, as students can send messages privately through Zoom.

Staying engaged with online learning poses a struggle for some students.

Pedro Oliveira, ‘23, is taking English, calculus, chemistry, and physics. As a first-year student, his lectures are large and he said he faces the challenge of minimal social interaction. 

Oliveira said he appreciates having mandatory online recitations. 

“The classes with recitations are easy to catch up on, but not having a set routine with my larger lectures leaves me falling behind,” Oliveira said.  

Keeping in contact with other students has been the biggest help to Oliveira, he said. E.W. Fairchild-Martindale Library interactions have turned into FaceTime calls. He said he knows he can call his friends from school and confide in them, as they are all going through similar struggles. 

Fiona Nugent, ‘20, said most of her work has died down. She said for two of her classes, she has to log in at a set time and attend Zoom lectures. The other two classes are up to Nugent to complete on her own time. 

“It’s a good opportunity, at least it has been for me, to really kind of get out of my regular routine and my ‘shell’ in terms of asking other students for help,” Nugent said. 

She has directly emailed other students to ask how a problem was solved and went to Zoom office hours with her TAs. 

Nugent said that students need to put away the “shame” they have in asking for help. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have friends in the class, as resources are still available for everyone. 

“We’re all in this together, so we just have to keep helping each other out,” she said. 

Lehigh will continue to hold classes remotely for the remainder of the semester. Common Hour exams will start on March 31.

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