Following Lehigh’s temporary campus shut down due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, every student had to continue their education online, not just students who opted to take classes fully remotely before the semester started.
While students and faculty face many challenges through remote learning and teaching, there have been some positive aspects, too.
Varen Lilley, ‘21, began this semester taking classes on campus and had to transition to virtual learning in the middle of the semester. Lilley said she has been able to make the best out of the situation and look at the positive side.
“The positives of a virtual learning environment include easy accessibility to join class where I am never running late or in a hurry,” Lilley said.
Lilley said professors seem to be more understanding and lenient despite the workload remaining the same as it was before online class.
The biggest lesson Lilley has taken away from virtual learning is the importance of going outside and getting exercise.
“It can be easy to stay inside all day in front of your computer, but it is critical to give your eyes and brain a rest,” Lilley said.
Nico Beard, ‘21, said he is also looking at the positive components of online learning while thinking about how he can utilize this experience once he graduates in the spring.
Beard said he hopes to use his online learning experience and the skills he developed along the way when he joins the workforce next year.
He said some of the skills he has learned are how to assert himself in an environment where he can’t see his professor face-to-face as well as managing his schedule when nearly all of his classes are virtual.
Beard also said a major benefit to online learning is the accessibility component.
“It’s very easy to attend class, and there are plenty of resources to support the Q&A of an in-person learning environment, such as Piazza (a learning management tool that easily allows students to ask questions and engage in discussions),” Beard said.
Patrick McCormick, a law professor at Lehigh, said his students have been coming to class nearly 100 percent of the time and the absentee rate is negligible. McCormick said a bright spot is that Library Technology Services has been providing him with help as he is learning a new way of teaching.
McCormick said that virtual meetings are the future, and we have no choice but to embrace it.
“I just litigated my first virtual case on Friday for a PennDOT speeding case, and that’s the way things are going to be,” McCormick said. “So let’s get used to it and start now.”