It has been long anticipated, but it has finally arrived. After months of preparation, St. Francis College welcomed back its students to its campus virtually and in-person on Wednesday.
Having adopted a hybrid model for the Fall 2020 semester, students now have the option to attend their classes online or in person.
“The first day of classes is absolutely one of the highlights of the year for me, and this year is no exception. Things are different for all of us this semester, but I’m inspired and energized as always by the enthusiasm and resiliency of our students,” President Miguel Martinez-Saenz said. “It’s been terrific seeing students, particularly our new students on campus today. I wish every success to our Terrier family this year.”
Both staff and students were eager to start the semester and see how things would turn out. “I was really excited to be on campus for the first day of classes,” Freshman Natalia Lausten said. “A new chapter has opened for me. I’m excited to see how my first semester goes.”
Many shared Lausten’s sentiments as their first day rolled out without a hitch. Dr. Augusta Palmer, an associate professor of Communication Arts at St. Francis College for eight years, who will be using the synchronous method of teaching, stated that the first day of classes is always a bit anxiety-producing, and that is especially the case when teaching online.
“I really enjoyed my first day,” Dr. Palmer said. “My students were enthusiastic, and I enjoyed seeing some familiar faces and meeting students I’ve never taught before.”
ATTENDING CLASSES FROM ABROAD
Having to attend classes during a pandemic is a task by itself. However, attending classes during a pandemic in a completely different time zone can be extremely strenuous. Sophomore student Edoardo Giribaldi who is currently attending classes from his home in Italy admitted to this being a strange situation but has had a good experience thus far.
“The strangest thing was the fact that I’m in a completely different time zone (six hours ahead),” Giribaldi said. “Apart from that, everything was fine, and it seems that every professor is doing their best to create a good online environment.”
Unlike Lausten and Giribaldi, several students did not share in their ‘good fortune’. A transfer sophomore student who wished to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation is one of those persons.
“I didn’t like it,” the student said. “I thought it would’ve been more organized.” The student who is taking five courses this semester said that only two of the five were uploaded to Canvas. There were no emails or indication from professors as to when the three remaining courses would be uploaded.
Many students shared similar experiences. For some, none of their classes were uploaded leaving them confused and anxious. When the student tried contacting the professors, there were delayed responses and eventually no response.
Moving forward in the semester, the student urges professors to “just communicate with the students — just communicate if you’re having difficulties because they would expect a student to communicate if they’re having difficulty.”