Lehigh gave students the option to be remote or have campus access for the Spring 2021 semester. Campus access gives students the ability to take classes in person if a hybrid option is offered by the professor. (Nora Thomson/B&W Staff).

Students taking hybrid and on-campus only courses share their experiences with in-person learning

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While most previously in-person classes have gone remote, a number of classes have adopted either hybrid or on-campus formats for the spring semester.

The recent spike in positive cases both on and off-campus has led to a number of in-person classes temporarily shifting to online, but many students have already had the opportunity to experience class outside of Zoom. 

This year, classes are available in three different formats: on-campus only, hybrid, and fully remote. While hybrid courses allow for remote students to enroll, on-campus only classes are reserved solely for students who have opted for campus access, foregoing the tuition decrease associated with remote learning.

Margaret Mancusi-Ungaro, ‘24, who took a number of in person and hybrid courses last semester, said her decision to take on-campus only courses this semester was deliberate.

“I prefer being in-person, because I get so distracted in my room, so just being able to be in a classroom helps me focus on the schoolwork,” Mancusi-Ungaro said. 

Mancusi-Ungaro said she struggles with the asynchronous component of classes and the lack of separation between school and home.

“(I) have never really taken class online. So for me, in my brain, I am like ‘Okay go to a classroom, learn in the classroom, leave the classroom, do your homework,’ and it helps me divide school from the rest of my life,” Mancusi-Ungaro said. 

Anna Valadao Defaria, ‘24, also prefers in-person classes as they have provided her with an environment that she can more easily focus in. 

“Being in a classroom, and having that in-person experience, is just really helpful and it makes it so that I can learn better, and interpret the information a little bit better and remember it,” Valadao Defaria said.

Christian Koehlerschmidt, ‘24, who was a fully-remote student in the fall, is experiencing in-person classes for the first time this semester. He said while he previously enjoyed being able to have a schedule of his own due to the asynchronous nature of his courses, it has been easier to keep up with his work with in-person classes.

“I think that in person is a good way of keeping yourself in check and making sure that you are staying on top of assignments and doing all of them,” Koehlerschmidt said.

Valadao Defaria also said it has been easier to meet people through her in-person classes, largely because of the difference in how students are able to interact with one another. 

“I think that everyone has a presence, and that is really hard to always express through Zoom,” Valadao Defaria said.

Koehlerschmidt said he has also been able to connect with people that he otherwise wouldn’t.

“I also think it’s good to see your professors and TAs and stuff, start to form a connection with them as well,” Koehlerschmidt said. “Overall, it just makes the learning experience a lot better.”

In regards to COVID-19 concerns, Valadao Defaria says she feels that it has been taken seriously within the classroom.

“I feel totally safe,” Valadao Defaria said. “I am not really nervous about it and I think my professors also really want to teach in person and engage with students in-person so they are just as safe and they are aware of the precautions that are necessary to be taken.”  

Both Koehlerschmidt and Mancusi-Ungaro also feel comfortable in their classes, whether due to mandatory mask-wearing, the utilization of face shields or the implementation of social distancing. 

 

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