At most universities in the United States, spring break is already underway. But for us Drexel Dragons, there’s still a little more ground for us to trek before we reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
I’ve always said that the one-week breaks we get between our ten-week quarters are far too short and don’t allow us to really catch our breath before a new quarter starts. I wrote an article about that very issue a while back, but I didn’t have a way to actually fix that problem, as there are reasons why Drexel can’t simply extend the break period from one week to two.
But that issue aside, I having a feeling this spring break is going to be filled with a lot more anticipation as we wait to find out if spring quarter will be entirely online due to the spreading coronavirus, more formally known as COVID-19. In an email sent out by President Fry, with the subject “Spring Break Lengthened, Online Courses for Start of Spring Quarter, Campus to Remain Open.” In this email, it was confirmed that spring break will be extended by a week and spring quarter’s classes will be taught online. This information made me really ponder what the future quarter is going to look like, and what we should be expecting.
I don’t mind three weeks of classes being held online, but it would be a shame if my last quarter at Drexel took place entirely online. For me, the majority of the fun to be had in classes comes from being in a room with a bunch of people you don’t know, and then seeing how things develop over the term. And I know I’m not alone here. A lot of people stay away from online classes because they have a high preference for face-to-face classes. Some people just don’t do well in online classes because assignments and deadlines are handled differently in an online format. It can be easy to forget about work you have to do when you don’t get a friendly reminder from the professor at the end of class about what is due next week.
Furthermore, there are some classes that just do not work well in an online format. English classes are fairly easy to do online because it’s primarily reading and writing, but I’d imagine that for certain majors, this isn’t the case. You also have to consider that some professors will be just as unfamiliar and uncomfortable with using Drexel Learn to teach their classes. I wrote an article last week discussing the benefits that come with taking an online class, but I think having an entire term take place online is a bit much.
I fully understand that the coronavirus should not be taken lightly, and personally I wouldn’t mind this final term being completely online if that means more people will be safe and more lives will potentially be saved. My only worry is about how well the change will be executed if the decision is made to move online. I could see it easily working for a week or two, but for 10 weeks? That’s a large stretch of time to maintain such a big change.
If it does end up happening, we’re all going to have to do some heavy adapting. Otherwise, things won’t go so well. I remember in my sophomore year, I had a class that I was doing fairly well in for the first two or three weeks, but it got switched to an online class about halfway through for various reasons. From that point on, I pretty much bombed the class and had to withdraw. Obviously my experience doesn’t speak for everyone, but if you’re a student who has never taken an online class before, I would definitely advise you to do some research online about how online classes work because they can be an entirely different world from face-to-face classes. In my opinion, you have nothing to lose by taking some time to prepare yourself for such a massive change in your educational experience.
Hopefully, spring quarter won’t have to be held entirely online, but if that becomes the reality, then we’re going to have to work through it whether we want to or not. I’m expecting it to be a bit tedious and probably frustrating at first, but on the upside, none of us will have to worry about waking up early in the morning and getting dressed for those dreaded 8 a.m. lectures.