Students faced two challenges before the Fall 2020 semester began: virtual classes and conversion to semesters from quarters. Online classes were an option pre-COVID, but have now become mandatory for many classes. Students have missed the ability to physically socialize with past and new classmates.
Brenda Salas Melgoza, a junior and transfer student, says, “I’ve had online classes before so I’m used to it but it is way different with the pandemic since I can’t socialize much.” Even though Melgoza previously took online classes, she feels as if this time around she can’t have that much of a life outside of school.
On the other hand, some don’t mind the conversion. Melissa Loera, who is in her junior year at CSUSB, shared how she does not mind online school, but she does find it to be time-consuming. Loera says, “I don’t mind online school actually, but I do feel at some times that it’s taking some of my life outside of school.”
Larry R. Hygh, Jr., Ed.D, a lecturer at CSUSB, has adapted to communication and societal changes throughout his career that have helped him be prepared and embrace the opportunities that have been created by the global pandemic.
Prior to academia, Dr. Hygh was a nonprofit communications executive for more than 20 years and he underwent constant changes in his occupation.
“A definite positive is being able to bring my networks into our virtual reality. I created a speaker series for my courses that included a former White House Press Secretary and ABC News Anchor,” says Dr. Hygh. “In my nonprofit communications career, I have lived and worked in New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Jackson, Mississippi, and I grew up in East Texas. During this 20 plus year career I’ve made connections with some amazing people.” Because of the remote setting, Dr. Hygh and his colleagues are able to discuss theories and concepts of strategic communication in the virtual setting while using real life examples from their day-to-day work.
He explained some challenges that have come with virtual learning.
“I am a people person and miss seeing my students in person and interacting with them live in the classroom. My classes are synchronous, but I still miss being in the actual classroom engaging folks,” says Dr. Hygh. “When I teach in person, I walk and move a great deal. It’s hard for me to sit still in front of a screen because I’m a person who is active and moves.”
Not only is remote learning our only option, but students that have been at CSUSB before and are continuing their education now are going through a quarter to semester conversion. Due to this conversion, school resumed just two months after the 2019-2020 school year had ended.
The semester system was implemented this fall and not everyone has enjoyed the change. Alec Garcia, a sophomore at CSUSB, says, “I think the quarter system was a lot better because I liked to get to meet new people and I could meet more because of the three quarters and not just two semesters.” He felt more motivated because the ten-week structure felt quicker for him.
For some students, they feel that the semester system does not offer enough units. Loera says, “Quarter system is way better than the semester. I was able to take more courses rather than the small amount of units that are offered now.”
Similar to the reactions of online learning, there are some students who do not take issue with the new learning schedule. Melgoza does not mind the change, the school she attended prior to transferring was already on the semester system. “I am a transfer student so I’ve only been on the semester system and I like it,” says Melgoza.
The idea of the quarter to semester system has received mixed responses. Some students felt that professors overloaded them with work during the first week and many felt overwhelmed. Students also feel that tuition does not match up to the cost since they are missing out on the in-class experience.
Remember, if at any time you are struggling CSUSB offers many programs for mental health, tutoring, and ways to stay involved with CSUSB events during this trying time. CSUSB offers a CARE team who are here to help students dealing with personal challenges during this campus wide transition. They are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. and can be reached at (909) 537-2273 or [email protected].Picture from: www2.calstate.edu/attend/campuses/san-bernardino%5B/caption%5D