While a majority of the Lehigh population has returned to campus for the fall 2021 semester to attend in-person classes, online learning still remains an option for some.
Some faculty members are teaching classes remotely this semester due to medical or geographic reasons.
Nikki Derei, ‘23, a biology major with a minor in health, medicine and society, is taking a public health class remotely. The class was moved online because the professor is currently living out of state, Derei said.
Derei said although she would have preferred to have all in-person classes, online learning has been easier this semester since more people are on campus.
“It kind of takes a bit of stress off your shoulders and it makes learning more doable,” Derei said. “You gain motivation because you have a balance now, as things aren’t fully online.”
Derei said she appreciates her professor tailoring their teaching style to help students understand the material better in an online setting.
Ricki Bliss, a philosophy professor, is teaching two online classes this semester due to medical reasons. She said she has made an effort to incorporate student feedback into her online teaching style this semester.
“In transitioning from last semester to this one, the most we can do is just ask students what they liked, what they didn’t like, what they struggled with and then try and do things better from there,” Bliss said.
Jackie LaMastra, ‘24, an economics and math major, is taking a core economics class remotely.
LaMastra said she had a positive mindset going into taking the class online since she had the same professor last year and liked her way of teaching.
“The start of this semester has been less stressful because I think professors have a better handle on technology since they’ve been doing it for a year and a half now,” LaMastra said. “For the majority of my professors, they did a really good job taking input from their students.”
Bliss said she was worried that only offering her classes fully remotely would turn students away. Despite this, she said enrollment numbers did not drop and she was surprised that most students did not mind having a class online.
Bliss said she does recognize the opportunities that an in-person classroom setting presents.
“In-person teaching allows for a more natural, spontaneous set of human interactions,” Bliss said.
For some students, this semester is their first in-person experience on a college campus.
Ariel Huang, ‘24, took part in the Lehigh in Residence program in Shanghai through IES Abroad last year and is now taking classes on campus for the first time.
Huang said that even though she is a sophomore, she feels like a first-year student and is still adjusting to Lehigh and learning her way around.
Through the Shanghai experience, Huang only took classes in one building. She said her favorite thing about Lehigh is being able to move around campus with friends.
“I’m very happy to actually go to the library with my friends and just to do some homework,” Huang said. “That’s actually the normal college life that I recognized.”
Despite having an online class, both Derei and LaMastra said it is great to see Lehigh’s campus bustling again.
“I love walking around seeing how lively campus is,” LaMastra said. “As soon as there is a class change, you have a hoard of hundreds of people walking by the UC Front Lawn, and it’s really awesome to see.”