Staff Picks: How Have Professors Helped Students Survive Zoom University?

Although classes have only been online for a few weeks now, students’ lives have drastically changed in no time at all.

In a span of a week, we went from celebrating spring break to suddenly questioning our futures. We were suddenly wondering how our assignments would be turned in, what labs would be like, and how we’d suffer through take exams. Don’t even get us started about finals week.

Luckily, our professors have stepped up to keep students’ heads screwed on tight and provide them with the education they deserve. After all, they’re doing the best they can.

To give our professors the credit they deserve, we asked some of our staffers how their instructors have gone the extra mile to adjust to remote learning and make online classes a little easier for everyone involved

Mira DiBattiste: Inspirational Emails

Justin Schwartz, dean of Penn State’s College of Engineering, sends us emails every single day since we’ve gone online and it really makes my day every time. He would send us daily news updates, inspirational quotes, links to workouts, and live streams of puppies. Overall, he’s a really positive presence in my inbox.

Dean Schwartz, thank you for showing you care about your students. Little things like those daily emails really reminded me that there are faculty and staff members who are really thinking about us in a time when it’s easy to feel alone.

Matt DiSanto: Eliminating Due Dates

One of my IST professors, Rick Winscot, made my classmates’ lives much easier this semester by eliminating due dates once he moved his course online. Although he heavily advised us to work through classwork as responsibly as possible, we were able to work at our own pace (read: save it all for the last day) throughout the semester.

He even undated our assignments and projects to help us out as much as he could. I thought this was rather kind of him. It definitely made taking his course a lot more bearable with all the chaos that’s been going on lately.

Dana Nunemacher: Snack Time!

I took a four-hour class every Monday this semester. When classes were still in person, we would take a break during class and eat dinner together (usually a soup prepared by a student). It really helped bring our class together and created a family-esque atmosphere.

When I transferred to Zoom University, I was sad our weekly dinners were over. However, my professor still set aside about half an hour each class where we would all take a snack break together and talk about how we were doing. It was really helpful and allowed us to still have a break and grow a little closer to one another.

Ryen Gailey: Changing Deadlines & Discussion Boards

My HDFS 301 professor has been very quick to adapt and accommodate this crazy, difficult time. She made due dates for certain assignments more flexible and said as long as you email her and give her a heads up if an assignment would be late, that she doesn’t care when you turn it in.

She also changed one of our discussion post assignments, which are usually based on readings and lectures, to be just a general discussion asking us how we’re doing (because she really cared). It was really helpful to know my classmates were having a bit of a rough time too.

Alysa Rubin: Extra Points

I didn’t personally take HDFS 129 class, but my friends did! In that course, professor Molly Countermine gave her students a bunch of extra points for “surviving the semester” to help perk up their grades. Not too shabby, eh?

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