Faculty adjust to Canvas, remote instruction

FAMU welcomes new and returning students. Photo by Samoni Brown

Everyone in every career has had to make drastic changes due to the rise of COVID-19. The state of Florida has definitely been considered a hot spot; the state has so many cases where people have tested positive. Tallahassee alone has had thousands of people that have tested positive.

With the reopening of schools this fall, professors and students have had to make grave changes to the way we not only communicate and interact with each other but also to the way we learn.

This could seem especially hard for professors who have never taught virtually before, and there could be challenges for those that have. For someone who has taught virtually since 2013, Professor  Michael LaBossiere says  the hardest thing is trying to get the students to enjoy the online experience because they were forced into it. To assist his students, LaBossiere has uploaded extra videos on how to use Canvas and how the class will operate.

However, Prof. Simmons thinks the hardest adjustment aside from technological difficulties is going to be on the students’ end.

“This will be a test to the students’ time management skills and dealing with feelings of being overwhelmed with balancing online classes and their regular social life,” she said.

She tries to conquer this battle by creating an environment where her students “support each other and grow together, even if they’re physically apart.”

One major thing many are wondering is ‘how are grades this semester going to be affected with students and staff dealing with the stressor of COVID-19? For students who have taken online classes before, there may be no difference in their overall performance, however, that may be a different story for the first timers. Many professors believe that they won’t see a huge difference in students’ grades.

LaBossiere does think there might be a slight decrease considering the “ongoing stress of the pandemic and the increased stress from the heightened political/social/economic turmoil.”

With extra time on everyone’s hands, some have taken an interest in new hobbies, reading more, or just relaxing now that everyone is in the house more often.

LaBossiere has found that although he doesn’t have to commute to and from work, he is using that extra time to record and edit videos and create PowerPoints for his classes.

Simmons uses her extra time sending her friends postcards and expanding her garden.  “It’s difficult to improve in a vacuum and this can be a challenge but worth the effort,” she said.