Classes to remain online for rest of semester

While Del Mar College had hoped to have students back in classrooms by the middle of April, it recently announced that classes will remain online through the end of the spring semester.

The transition to online classes has been a challenge for some students and professors, but the college has tried to make the move easy on both.

In an April 1 e-mail to faculty and students, Lorette Williams, executive director of communication and marketing, said students should communicate with their instructors via Canvas regarding course end dates and any lab or clinical portions of their courses, projects or assignments that may be affected.

“We understand the difficulties and concerns the online transition has created among some students, and we remain focused on streamlining the process as much as possible,” Williams said in the email. “Our goal is for students to complete their courses on time and on schedule.”

Jesy Good, a criminal justice major, said her four online classes have been a difficult change.

“I’ve been having a hard time focusing on school and work,” Good said. “It’s hard to focus, or to want to focus, and stay motivated when we don’t know when, or if, this is ever going to end. It’s not going away anytime soon.”

Good said she’s struggling with her English class the most.

“It’s another thing to read the assignments, and another thing to be taught it,” Good said. “It’s hard to not have my teacher at my disposal to help me. Today was the first time I talked to her about my feelings toward school and she was very understanding. She made me feel a bit better about the whole situation, but I know these feelings will come and go.”

Bryan Stone, professor of history, said this is his first time teaching an online course.

“It has been difficult to transition to online instruction,” Stone said. “I’m fortunate in that I’ve used Canvas a lot in my face-to-face classes, so I and my students were pretty familiar with it already. The challenge has been finding a way to replace the face-to-face lectures I typically give.”

Stone said he doesn’t like to rely on video chatting, such as Zoom, because he’s unfamiliar with it and unsure if students would be able to access the service.

“I’m basically typing up my lectures into PowerPoint slides and posting those for students to download,” Stone said. “I’m also using the Canvas discussion boards to run conversations about the lectures and readings. This feels far from ideal.”

Stone said his syllabus remains intact and has not seen any drops from his classes. Personally though, he’s facing the same difficulties as everyone else.

“I’m getting stir crazy; I’m nervous and worried all the time, and I can’t get stuff I want from the store,” Stone said. “But I try to remind myself that I’m incredibly fortunate compared to many, many others. My health is good, as is everyone’s in my family. I’m very grateful to have a good job and a steady income, which makes everything else much easier. I’m trying to do what I can to help my students, who may be struggling more than I am, navigate through the rest of the semester.”

While access to campuses and college facilities remains closed, Del Mar has set up a web page at www.delmar.edu/offices/cro/cv/index.html to update students and faculty and answer frequently asked questions about COVID-19. Students should visit daily to stay informed as the semester continues.

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