With the coronavirus pandemic changing plans for the University of Nebraska at Omaha, procedures have been put in place to help students transition into remote learning mode, starting March 30.
Although this is a huge change for many professors and students, many collectively understand that social distancing helps maintain safety for others during the pandemic.
“At first I was very skeptical of my on-campus classes moving to online remote learning because I didn’t think I would be able to time manage very well with the classes I have that are already online,” UNO student Maleah Whipple said. “But I’m glad that the university [UNO] was proactive in assuring our safety and had a plan in place before making the final call.”
UNO English Major Sydney Andre said going online could possibly be detrimental to her learning because her home can be a distracted learning space.
“I have a hard enough time finding the motivation to do my school work, and now that I can do it all from home is definitely not helping,” Andre said. “It’s hard to find the motivation to do things when I’m distracted.”
Journalism and media communications major Ethan Wolbach said some of his classes will be heavily affected when moving online, especially his capstone class, simply because they are not designed that way.
“The class is centered around hands-on learning with cameras and in-the-field interviews. Now we can’t do any of that, all that experience students would have gained is up in the air,” Wolbach said.
Wolbach said despite the change, the university has helped students by keeping the Criss Library and other computer labs open for students to have easier access to internet services.
Whipple said she believes the university did a good job assessing the issues with remote learning by taking time to alert students and faculty that things could be changing, even before they did.
“They stayed on top of what was going on and what would need to happen in the event of the campus closing,” Whipple said.
Andre praised the English department for adjusting the classes enough to fit the remote learning method.
“There will be a learning curve as to how classes will be conducted, but I think that, overall, things seem to be going well,” Andre said.
Even with a few positives, some students agreed there is room for more improvement.
“I think it is difficult to accommodate every student on UNO’s campus. There needs to be more communication between professors and students than there currently is,” Wolbach said. “Students not knowing what direction their class will take when it returns online is a big issue.”
Andre said although UNO provides a limited number of laptops for students to rent, one concern is having the necessary software like Adobe available for different classes.
“I think that providing this software would be the next step for accommodating students who need different online materials,” Andre said.
Whipple said professors can suggest where to get necessary materials for their classes or the university could work with professors to adjust the classes for some students who may not have access to the materials.
Students also said that changing to remote learning and the soft closing of campus has affected their normal schedule.
“I think moving to remote online learning is going to benefit me because I am a single working mom so this will allow me to spend more time with my daughter while also being able to get my school work done and ‘go to class,’” Whipple said.
Wolbach said the changes to his online classes were easier but will be challenging for other classes to follow.
“I already had two online classes this semester so due dates in those classes were pushed back with the extended spring break,” Wolbach said. “As for my other classes, they require hands on work with cameras supplied by UNO, so it’ll be a challenge for those classes to function and give us the necessary equipment.”
Andre said she was looking forward to many of the events her sorority Chi Omega was planning this semester to celebrate the seniors, but because of remote learning they are unlikely to happen.
“It’s tough to think that I really don’t know when I’ll see my sisters again,” Andre said. “I think that the remote learning will definitely free up my schedule, but I’m not entirely sure if that is something that I actually wanted.”