Ball State provost, students react to increase in online learning

<p><strong>Maggie Getzin, DN Illustration</strong></p>

Maggie Getzin, DN Illustration

With classroom desks socially distanced and stickers signifying unavailable chairs, professors and students have made many changes to the ways they usually learn on campus. As the world still grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, Ball State’s course modalities show one clear way of how the pandemic has affected campus and academics.

Susana Rivera-Mills, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said the number of online class offerings increased by 23 percent this spring semester compared to last spring semester. 

Rivera-Mills noted that most of this semester’s online classes are being taught asynchronously.

She said professors can request to teach online classes and that each department determines the best way to deliver course instruction.

“Over the last year, due to the pandemic, we’ve had to also follow guidelines provided by the CDC, the state health department, our county health department and medical experts that help advise us,” Rivera-Mills said via email. “This ensures that we can offer a learning environment that is safe for both faculty and students.”

Rivera-Mills said online class offerings are higher than usual due to COVID-19, so the university has had to balance what is taught offline and taught on-campus, but she added that the university is also offering more in-person courses this semester compared to fall 2020.

With more classes being taught online this semester, students have noticed changes within their class schedules and their departments. 

Noah Linville, sophomore business administration major, said four out of his six total classes are online this semester, which he said can be difficult to manage compared to last semester when he had two online and three in-person classes.

“My motivation has gone down since I am just able to push it back, and I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s online. I don’t have to do it then and there,’ and I don’t like that. It makes me feel like a bad student,” Linville said. “I would like to have more in-person [classes] because I am able to do stuff throughout the day and I’m not just sitting in my dorm all day staring at the computer screen.”

Emma Kruse, a freshman nursing major, said the classes she had to take this semester are either delivered fully in-person or fully online. 

“I had a couple more classes in person this semester. However, my harder classes are online,” Kruse said. “School, overall, has been a little tougher this semester compared to last.”

Kruse said she noticed more of her fellow nursing majors are taking more online classes than usual.

“For most of our science-based classes for nursing, they all are online,” she said, “which I find a little odd because I think of all classes that you will want to do in person, it will be the really hard science classes.”

In the post-pandemic world, Rivera-Mills said, the university will be able to offer more in-person classes, but safety protocols require more online learning than usual for this semester.

Contact Angelica Gonzalez Morales with comments at agonzalezmor@bsu.edu or on Twitter @angelicag_1107.

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