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Students, faculty adjust to life online

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illustration by Danielle De Luna

illustration by Danielle De Luna

Raylene Lopez
Staff Writer

In an attempt at keeping students safe while slowing the spread of COVID-19, the University of La Verne – with Universities across the state and nation –  has fully transitioned to online courses and taken additional steps to either cancel or postpone all University sponsored events.

Since switching to online classes, beginning on March 23, the University has worked toward providing its students with a quality education, albeit virtual.

However, for many students, this is their first time taking online courses, which can come with various difficulties.

“I feel like I can’t really build that relationship with my professors or classmates anymore. Plus this doesn’t work for my way of learning,” said Zion Grant-Freeman, a sophomore psychology major. “I could go all day, forget I have class or homework because I’m not thinking about going into a class sitting down and taking notes.”

Udeshwar Persuad, sophomore business administration major, said he lacks motivation when it comes to online courses.

“I genuinely don’t like online classes,” Persuad said. “The only reason I went to class is because I physically had to be there. Now I just turn off my camera, mute my mic and do whatever I want.”

This transition to sheltering in place and social distancing as per state and local mandates comes with mental, physical and practical challenges as well.

Sophomore political science major Melissa Ochoa left her art supplies on campus.

“The school won’t let me into the Arts and Communication Building, so having to transition from that classroom to online and just strictly using my supplies and finding substitutes for what (I) need is one of the struggles I’ve personally been having,” Ochoa said.

Adjusting to various online software has also been challenging for some students including junior English major Riana Teran.

“I hate how I have Zoom for one class and then all of a sudden I have to go switch to WebEx,” Teran said.

Teran said it would be easier if the university used one software for all courses.

She believes Zoom would be the best option because it is simple and does not have as many glitches as WebEx.

Brian Clocksin, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said that multiple softwares can be beneficial.

“From a learning standpoint, we want to have that flexibility of a variety of mechanisms that some faculty have been using for years in their courses and work very well for their discipline. That might not work for other disciplines,” Clocksin said.

The University made the transition to all online classes over spring break, March 16-20, to give students and faculty time to get up-to-speed in the online platforms and obtain the computers and technology they needed.. There were numerous seminars, virtual and live, to help support faculty and staff in the process.

“I think it’s important for students to be vocal about things that are not going well or in which we can improve because we can’t solve a problem, if we can’t name.” said Nancy Reyes, associate dean of learning, innovation, and teaching.

Reyes encourages students to always voice their concerns to either faculty or the provost’s office. Students can email the office at provost@laverne.edu.

Dean of Students Juan Regalado said students should also be aware of the additional support still available to them through teleservice, such as the Student Health Center, the Counseling and Psychological Services and the Academic Success Center.

Regalado said the University is also in the process of figuring out how students can benefit from the Leo Food Pantry. He hopes there will be more information on this soon.

For a full list of student services and more information regarding the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit laverne.edu/coronavirus.

Raylene Lopez can be reached at raylene.lopez@laverne.edu.

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