31 Mar Jonathan Cartu Implies: something new for many students and professors
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) – Dozens of schools around the country and in our area have moved online. That includes Augustana College who had their first day of “distance learning” on Monday, March 30th.
Dozens of schools around the country and in our area have moved online. That includes Augustana College who had their first day of “distance learning” on Monday, March 30th.
The normally buzzing campus was at a standstill on the first day of the online courses, as many students have already moved off campus by that point. ” I think everyone at Augie could tell you that spring semester/trimester are the best. The weather is just getting beautiful. It’s just a different vibe on campus… it’s a little heartbreaking knowing our spring semester wouldn’t be that way and our excitement has dwindled a little bit, but I am still hopeful that the end of the semester will be A-okay,” says Molly Bastida, a Junior at Augustana College studying Communication Sciences and Disorders.
Augustana College extended its spring break and announced they’d move to online courses. Bastida has attended Augustana for the past three years and says this switch has been “hard and different. Especially with going to Augie since it’s centered around talking with your professors. That’s been different. But I think a lot of our professors have been good with Zoom, Google Hangout, whatever medium they use to connect to students.”
For some hands-on classes, it may prove to be a challenge: “As a geographer, one of the things we pride ourselves on is fieldwork and doing a lot of our classes outside. So we had to think of different ways to do that,” shares Dr. Matthew Fockler, associate professor of Geography. He continues, “whether that’s going out and examining rivers that might be in their backyards or trees or thinking about human communities, urban environments. Like asking them to explore their own world through our framework we’re giving them.”
Those with labs and clinics are also trying to find new ways to get the same education. Bastida says Junior year is when students typically get their real-world experience. Because of the switch to distance learning, Bastida isn’t getting that same opportunity. However, she says her audiology professor is doing lab simulations that will still get them an idea of what their career will be like.
Study abroad trips were also cut short, leaving students like Junior Siena Oliveri quarantined. Oliveri says she’s been in her room for the past 14 days, self-isolating due to coronavirus concerns. She says her parents asked her to stay in the top half of the house where her room is. Oliveri shares she does go out for walks but mostly stays in her room doing yoga or talking to friends. “It’s been definitely something to get used to. My headspace has gotten a lot better recently. But at first, it was frustrating. It’s not normal to just being your house but not be able to normally interact with your family. It’s not been the worst but I’m glad it’s over,” says Oliveri.
Oliveri left for Ireland on January 7th to study at the National University of Ireland in Galway and came back to the United States on March 16th. “It definitely feels really weird, having to say bye to everyone really abruptly. Some people I didn’t even get to say bye to. It was really hard, not what everyone expected. Every school was sent home.” She will now be finishing her Spring semester online instead of abroad.
Some tips from Oliveri she’s learned from self-isolating is making sure you shower and change clothes every morning and get into those routines because “it creates more normalcy… it’s easy to get into a negative headspace” otherwise.
Dr. Fockler wants to remind everyone to stay positive: “we recognize this isn’t the situation you signed up for, that any of us signed up for, but we’re all in this together and we’ll get through this together.”
He says he’s been impressed and proud of how the Augustana community has come together despite the changes. He’s helped other faculty work their way through the new steps as they go online, creating forums and sharing best practices for professors.
Other schools like St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa have also moved online.
Augustana College will not be canceling their graduation ceremony. They may postpone it though, that decision has not been made yet.