With vaccination season in full swing, colleges across America are debating whether or not to have students in-person full time this fall. Dixie State University should follow corporate America’s lead and practice the new norm of blending in-person and virtual learning year-round.
Micheal Lacourse, provost and vice president of academic affairs, said, “Assuming we remain in low-moderate transmission level, our plan is to return to our traditional instruction format, which is predominantly in-person classes.”
Lacourse said DSU will keep Zoom as an option at professors’ discretion this fall; however, the option should always be available to students regardless.
It is time for professors to accept change and not lean on what they have been doing for decades, and to start providing the hy-flex learning experience permanently.
Hy-flex creates a safe environment for everyone and will allow the university to prepare students for a remote workplace.
According to CNN Business: “Several companies, particularly large tech firms, have announced support for workers moving to other cities and working remotely. Twitter announced earlier this year that it would give employees the option of working remotely forever, while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg estimates 50% of his company’s workforce could be working remotely by 2030.”
The pandemic has launched a new online empire in the workplace. Zoom provides corporate America with the tools needed to eliminate in-person meetings, allow employees to work from home, and eliminate business trips. The education industry can use Zoom to its advantage to limit crammed in-person classes and have students learn efficiently from home.
When the pandemic sent college students home last spring, it was a huge adjustment. After a year of blended learning, students and professors have adapted to this innovative live-streamed way of learning. Classes are running smoother and there are fewer tech problems than there were in the fall. If a professor is still struggling with the new technology, DSU provides them with a Zoom student aid.
The pandemic is not going away anytime soon, and some students are hesitant to return to normal. The DSU administration left professors to decide this spring if they wanted to eliminate the option of hybrid classes and teach entirely in-person unless a student doesn’t feel comfortable.
As a student, I was eager to jump back into in-person classes but found myself in an uneasy state sitting directly next to someone.
Most of DSU’s classes are on the small side, but my psychology classes are full of students with no social distancing measures implemented. I decided midway through the spring semester I wanted to participate in my bigger classes via Zoom.
The CDC recommends “at least 3 feet between students in classrooms and schools to provide clearer guidance when a greater distance (such as 6 feet) is recommended.”
Professors were asked to limit the number of in-person students in classrooms where it’s hard to social distance; however, two of my psychology professors have packed classes with 45 students sitting shoulder to shoulder for 50 minutes.
The pandemic is still so fresh; there shouldn’t be a hurry to rush back to in-person classes yet.
Despite students potentially all being vaccinated in the fall, the university should still allow students to choose their learning style. Students and professors still contract other illnesses, and Zoom learning can prevent students and professors from taking sick days and getting behind.
With the majority of the workforce at home and students online, there has been a decrease in illnesses like the flu.
William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert, stated in a Web MD article: “Nobody has seen a flu season this low, ever. And some of us have some gray hair.”
The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone and their mother. Zoom learning just makes it a little bit easier on the average university student. On Zoom, I can still take classes when I’m under the weather and not get behind, and I can prevent others from getting sick. DSU has the Zoom equipment already; why not use it?