How Quarantine Has Changed Olivet College Classes
You’re a student, enjoying your spring break with friends and family…when suddenly, you get stricken with fear from the media. They warn you of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19. Your school shuts down until further notice. You have to say goodbye to the campus, students and staff, all without really saying goodbye. Class is still in session, but through remote learning.
Since quarantine and social distancing began, many schools have resorted to remote learning. Remote learning is learning virtually online, one of the more popular virtual conferences being a program called Zoom. According to zoom.us/about, Zoom was founded in 2011 and “helps businesses and organizations bring their teams together in a frictionless environment to get more done.”
Though students are at home, many of them are upset that from the sudden change.
When asked how he felt about remote learning, sophomore DJ Vore said, “I absolutely hate online school. The work isn’t bad at all, it’s just being at home doing work doesn’t work for me and it never has. I never did homework at home in high school because I can’t do work in a non-school setting.”
Vore also said, “I’m not doing to good school wise. I was hoping to have the rest of the semester to bring my grades up after I let them slip. With this online work I’m not sure I’m doing to be able to get my grades back up.”
Though Zoom is one solution for continuing classes, it isn’t for everyone. Some people don’t have computers or the internet back at home. Others have simply left their materials for learning back on campus, meaning they can’t complete online work as they are supposed to.
That is why Olivet College has offered a Pass/Fail option. The Pass/Fail is a petition that students can fill out for a class that they have trouble keeping up with during remote learning.
According to the form located on the Olivet Portal, “Earning a ‘Pass’ (P) grade in a course under the P/F grading schema means that the course credits are earned but no honor points are earned toward the calculation of the grade point average (GPA). In other words, the GPA is not impacted by the earning of a ‘Pass’ grade. Earning a "Fail" (F) grade in a P/F course means no credits are earned and the grade will impact the GPA in the same way an ‘F’ in the traditional A-F grading schema would.” Olivet recommends that students talk to an adviser before filling out this petition.
Kirk Hendershott-Kraetzer, associate professor of humanities, was asked if every class is offering the Pass/Fail and he said, “Not every class is offering it: some classes where a C is required as a pre-req for another course in a sequence can't be taken pass/fail, and some classes that grad schools want to see shouldn't be taken pass/fail.”
As for his challenges when teaching online, he said, “There are so many. Prepping a lesson takes 2-3 times as long. Marking up homework takes about twice as long, and grading stuff takes more time still, if I'm not going to just slap a score on the thing, which I won't do. My exams and paper assignments had to get re-built to allow for students' potentially limited access to course resources. I had to cut a bunch of content to focus on core elements of the classes, so this group of students isn’t getting as complete an experience as students in the same class did when I last taught it, or will when I teach it the next time. Sitting in front of a computer for 9-10 hours a day isn't doing my body any favors, and I've had to force myself to stop each afternoon and get out and go for a walk with the dog.”
Hendershott-Kraetzer expresses that despite him learning how to control Zoom, his students have been gracious and patient.
According to the WXYZ Detroit News “Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended the state's stay-at-home order to May 1” because Michigan has the third highest cases of COVID-19.
Photo by Tara Flanagan