Students voice concerns as FAMU moves to online-only classes

Courtesy of FAMU Center for Public Computing & Information Technology Services.

On Monday, FAMU officials informed students that classes will transition to online-only for the remainder of the semester as a result of COVID-19 precautions.

Some students are looking forward to their classes being online and others didn’t take so kindly to the news.

“Most of my STEM courses are gonna be hard to excel in online. However, I will be heartbroken if I can’t walk on May 2,” De’Janae Williams said.  Williams is a senior biology pre-med student.

Online classes and non face-to-face methods of learning were originally supposed to last until April 6. But as the virus quickly spread throughout the nation, officials began to cancel public gatherings. All 12 public universities in Florida have been ordered by the Board of Governors to move to online-only for the rest of the spring term, and to begin making alternative plans for spring graduation ceremonies. Many universities across the country made the same decision.

Students expressed their concerns via social media while quarantining and practicing social distancing.

Questions like refunds for meal plans, students without internet access, and how lectures will carry out in different time zones were frequently brought up.

Jaylyn Daniels, a junior psychology student, shed some light on her experience with online classes.

“I have taken online courses and done poorly. How will I be successful in my classes? How will professors transfer the work load or hands-on material?” Daniels asked.

Shayla Thomas, a sophomore architect student, believes online classes are difficult to navigate for students in her major.

“We paid tuition for on-campus learning. There are classes [architecture and engineering] that are hard to comprehend and do online, which is why they aren’t offered online here,” Thomas said.

Even students from other universities across the country voiced their concerns about classes being moved to online.

The reliability of online classes could pose a challenge to students as well.

Hector Mardy Jr, a junior business administration student, had relied on his 8 a.m. class to jumpstart his full day of classes. But he doesn’t think that online classes are completely bad, he’s just unsure how they’re going to be handled.

“How are professors going to gauge learning for those whose weakness in online classes or overcoming challenges with connection … makes me less comfortable with the idea,” Mardy said.

Mardy hopes that professors will extend some grace for students during this transition.

“I get life deals a bad hand sometimes but with that, I need professors to understand and don’t be on that whole ‘student blaming’ type of time,” Mardy said.

FAMU provides many resources to students who may not have them outside of their academic studies. These include Coleman library, the writing center, study halls and others. But they will be out of reach for students if they have returned home due to classes being online.

Christen Bryant, a freshman agribusiness student, believes the success of learning through online depends on the professor.

“I believe that this has potential to have a positive or negative impact. It all depends on how the lecture is delivered,” Bryant said.

Not all students believe that online classes will have a negative impact.

Taylor Beard, a junior public relations student, has been taking online classes for the entire spring semester.

Beard said that her online classes were a last-minute decision, but the classes aren’t as stressful.

“I understand how the transition can be hard for other students though because most have been taking classes in person all semester,” Beard said.

Beard said that she isn’t stressing graduation as much and online classes provide her more time to focus on the start-up of her bakery business.

Ultimately, the decision to move all classes to online has raised many concerns about the dynamics for the remainder of the semester. Meal plans, tuition refunds, face to face interaction with peers, graduation ceremonies and navigating rigorous courses online will keep students on edge when classes resume on Monday.