Extension of remote learning into summer 2020 session affects faculty and students

MU students and faculty discuss how the continuation of remote learning will influence the 2020 summer session.

With the ongoing spread of COVID-19, MU has decided to continue remote learning through the 2020 summer session.

In an April 6 update, Provost Latha Ramchand said that classes in the summer term will be online as the public health crisis continues to spread through the nation.

“I know this decision is disappointing for us all, but we must continue to take actions that are in the best interests of everyone’s safety,” Ramchand said in the statement.

Hannah Twenter, an instructor with the division of animal sciences, will be teaching Internship in Animal Science & Technology during the summer term. Each student earns credit for their individual internship. Twenter monitors her students throughout their internship.

While Twenter mostly interacts with her students online, the continuation of remote classes into the summer term could potentially affect her course, especially if there is a stay-at-home order.

“It is going to require a lot of creativity to come up with projects for those students where they can still earn the credit but also can get a similar experience to what they would be doing,” Twenter said. "In my opinion, nothing will replace the opportunity to get out there and do it."

Carla Allen is an associate teaching professor and a clinical coordinator for the radiography program in the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences at MU. Allen’s department has already made adjustments to its summer courses.

“We start our new cohort of students in the summer, so I had planned to teach our Fundamentals of Radiography, which is a patient care class,” she said. “They were also supposed to take Procedures I, where they learn how to position patients for the X-rays. [Both of those classes] really need to have the hands-on component. So we swapped those [classes] to the first eight weeks of the fall semester and pulled some of the fall classes that could be done more effectively online into the summer.”

Allen is supposed to coordinate the advanced medical imaging externship this summer, a class where students receive their clinical requirements through a supervised experience in a clinical setting.

Allen doesn’t think MU’s switch to online classes will affect the externship.

“The externship is a clinical experience and not something that can be done online,” Allen said. “So, we are waiting to see whether or not we can get the students in based on the protocols and the policies that are being put in place by the different hospitals. I think [there’s] a distinct possibility that [students] will get back into the clinical settings for the summer.”

MU freshman Jaime Mennemeyer plans to take Chemistry II during the summer session. She wonders how the labs will look with the class online.

“I'm taking Chemistry I right now,” Mennemeyer said. “For the labs, our professor basically just gave us the data.”

For freshman Maggie Meyr, online labs were one of the reasons she decided to drop Chemistry I for the summer session.

“I just didn't think it would be that beneficial or easier for me to do it online,” Meyr said. “I'd rather take it in person.”

Meyr was looking forward to the perks of taking a summer course.

“I did really want that smaller class size for chemistry. That way I could get more one-on-one time,” Meyr said. “But at the same time, I wasn't really surprised with the way the virus [has been] going. It seemed like it was what they were going to do.”

While many instructors will have to adjust their courses for the online structure, adjunct lecturer Marlena Jones has always been teaching Kitchen Chemistry as an online course. The university’s course designers helped her set up an online experience that serves her students’ needs.

“I was able to use their guidance to say ‘Oh, well students appreciate when they don’t have to show up at a certain time to listen to a lecture,’” Jones said. “So I record all my lectures and make them available for [students] to watch at their own convenience.”

Grace Stiefermann, who will be going into her junior year in the MizzouMACC program, is looking forward to taking Lifespan Development this summer.

“I am a big fan of in-person learning,” Stiefermann said. “So I hope that I will still be able to take plenty away from this class … I hope [the material] doesn't get lost.”

Twenter is proud of how students have adjusted to all of the changes.

“I think that it is important for the public to know how fantastic all of our students have been through this,” she said. “The University of Missouri has great students, and they will overcome this situation that we are currently going through.”

Edited by Lucy Caile | lcaile@themaneater.com

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