What’s A Class In The Nittany Lion Inn Like?
For many students, in-person classes look a little different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. In order to maintain social distancing protocols, some larger lectures have been moved to unconventional locations.
One of these locations is the Nittany Lion Inn. The historic hotel remains quite busy lately while it provides accommodations for displaced Eastview Terrace students and even includes a repurposed classroom space.
Luckily, my astronomy lecture was moved to the Nittany Lion Inn, and I was excited to have a class in such a unique location.
The massive ballroom has been converted into a spaced-out and sweeping lecture hall that seats about 100 students at single desks. Three large screens have been set up at the front of the room for lecture purposes.
Additionally, the professor’s podium sits directly underneath the center screen, set up with a camera to broadcast to the students attending the class remotely.
The in-person lecture experience has not changed drastically from pre-coronavirus times, although it may feel like that from time to time.
Certainly, challenges arise. But Penn State faculty find ways to work around them. Instead of traditional clickers, students in my Astro lectures use their hands to vote or answer questions. Any collaboration between students happens from a distance, seated at one’s desk.
The in-person lecture comes with many obvious positives, especially after a semester of strictly Zoom courses. Many students, such as myself, find learning over Zoom difficult. The in-person aspect helps many students not only academically, but socially as well due to being confined to dorms most of the day.
The spaced-out classroom space has proven useful specifically for an astronomy course. The vast room is great for showing the scale of the universe’s reaches.
Class in a hotel ballroom may be unconventional, but it might be the new normal from now on.
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