OU community’s thoughts on returning fully online

The+beginning+of+the+winter+semester+is+remote+with+the+plan+to+return+to+in-person+learning+on+Jan.+31.+Students+and+faculty+share+their+thoughts+on+the+return+of+online+learning+for+the+first+few+weeks.

Noora Neiroukh

The beginning of the winter semester is remote with the plan to return to in-person learning on Jan. 31. Students and faculty share their thoughts on the return of online learning for the first few weeks.

Arianna Heyman, Features Editor

In a move reminiscent of 2020, President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz announced the beginning of the winter semester will be remote. With the Omicron variant surging, it is difficult to predict if students and staff will return on the expected Jan. 31 date. Students and faculty have mixed reactions to the return of completely online learning for the first two (now, as of Jan. 10, four) weeks of the semester. 

Madi Saunders, Graduate student, OUWB

“I’m indifferent to having classes online. For medical school all of our classes are recorded so I watch a good chunk of my classes at home. I’m hoping classes go back in person so that I can meet my professors and go to class with my friends. Class being online makes it easier to fall behind since I can watch my classes whenever I want and set my own schedule. I definitely need to be more disciplined with classes online. My classes shouldn’t change too much as long as my APM and doctoring classes remain in person.” 

Haley Allen, Junior, Political Science

“As much as I was excited to come in person to OU, I feel like it’s necessary to be online until cases slow down because so many people are getting ill and there’s no testing available. In my honest opinion, online classes tend to be easier so I’m not sure I’m getting the full class experience. It’s also a lot harder to socialize and network with students and professors online, so that’s an impact.”

Nina Nakkash, Senior, Psychology

“I like online classes in winter to be honest. It saves me the drive in the snow, parking in the snow with young drivers/college students and for people that have later classes it can feel safer (because it gets darker quickly). Online classes are also good for us self-learners/independent learners. I can definitely see the downside for certain classes like theatre or art classes! So, I would actually prefer my classes to be online in January/February. As for how it has impacted me, it means I have to take classes at home. Luckily, I have WiFi in my house and it works decently. Also luckily, we have a home office that has decent seating and lighting for an online environment. I can’t imagine online classes for people that live in a noisier or more distracting environment than I do and for those who don’t have reliable WiFi.”

Christine Stover, Professor, Communication 

“I’m not happy about the remote start for 2022, but I am understanding as to why we are doing this. My feelings are due to the fact I prefer the interaction face to face in class. So much is lost to distraction and virtual fatigue from all this online interaction. As a professor, having to pivot and think on my feet has been part of this profession since March 2020, so I can easily switch formats in a heartbeat. Now, do I believe that the students benefit as much online? Absolutely not, and I don’t feel the connection to them either. It feels like malpractice. I have an audio production course that I would be devastated to have to continue online for the rest of the semester if that became the case.”

Undoubtedly, both students and staff would like to return to campus. While there is still much uncertainty about the trajectory of the winter semester, what is certain is that we are in for another long winter of COVID-19.