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Students, Faculty and Staff Prepare for Summer and Reflect on Online Learning

Empty Campus | Photo by Soham Parikh | The Wright State Guardian

Summer classes are right around the corner, and students, faculty, and staff at Wright State University (WSU) are preparing for their next semester. However, many people are wondering when classes will return to campus and reflecting on how online-learning has impacted them during the coronavirus pandemic.  

Student perspective: Charline Phung  

WSU senior Charline Phung’s summer semester is her last one before she graduates. She is a supply chain management major and has been involved in clubs and activities on campus, such as the Korean club, and managed social media for the University Activities Board.  

She is eager for classes to be in-person again once it is safe.  

“So far I’ve been okay with online classes, but I believe everyone would prefer in-person classes,” Phung said.  

Professor perspective: Dr. Deborah Crusan and Dr. Sharon Jones 

As a professor of TESOL/applied linguistics, Crusan is hoping to see students back in the classroom for the Fall 2021 semester once people can access the coronavirus vaccine. Additionally, Crusan indicates that she is teaching a course online for the summer semester, but does not feel that in-person options are safe at this point. 

Crusan describes the amount of work that WSU staff are putting in to ensure that students can learn and succeed despite the online format, explaining that it has been challenging for professors as well.  

“I don’t get to see many of my students’ faces, so it’s difficult to know if they are interested, nervous, confused, engaged. I miss face-to-face interaction with my students. I’ve always enjoyed being in the classroom, considering it the best, most rewarding part of my job, so it’s been a little sad. I’ve always worked hard planning classes, but online teaching demands uber planning, and even though I’m working more than twice as hard, I don’t feel as rewarded, as close to my students, or that I have the best handle on how much my students are learning,” Crusan said.  

English professor Dr. Jones is experiencing similar experiences to Crusan. She has had to adapt to online learning to provide the best experience and education to her students. Also, she asserts that her intention with hosting in-person classes is to stay online until WSU policies allow for safe delivery and approval.  

“Prior to 2020, I had not taught any courses online. I did have to modify and adapt assignments and course materials when I transitioned to teaching in an online context. I did have to learn to engage more with some forms of technology that I had not worked with in the past. I continue to become aware of a variety of resources available for online instruction,” Jones said.  

Staff perspective: Mr. Wayne Stark  

As Director of Workforce Development and Career Consultant at WSU, Stark works one-on-one with students to help them enhance their resumes, find internships, and reach success in their careers.  

He indicates that his ability to provide these services has not been negatively impacted by the online format. Rather, students are still engaged with his content and that Stark feels he has been able to continue his work uninterrupted.  

Many events are coming up in which students can attend and learn more about career opportunities and internships, including a Virtual Career Fair via Handshake on March 23, according to Stark. He plans to keep his services online for summer unless WSU policies change.  

“Overall, my connections with students have continued unabated with all of my programs/services/resources smoothly transitioning to virtual via WebEx. Students have engaged very well with this platform, and have participated as usual in one-on-one career advising appointments, weekly workshops and other career-related programs,” Stark said.  

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