By Denali Norton
Students at City College faced very different experiences this past semester, with some programs returning to limited in-person instruction.
While the college remained mostly online in Fall 2021, about 20% of courses on the course schedule were in-person. For Spring 2022, currently 25% of offered courses will be in-person.
Students and staff want different delivery methods next semester. Some teachers have expressed the importance and enjoyment of in-person classes for hands-on learning and for simply being with other people.
Communication Studies instructor Nathan Lawless Steele, who taught completely in person this semester, said, “I would love to see more student services and face to face classes.”
Some students enjoy the current hybrid mode that offers things you can only get on campus while leaving out negatives like commutes and recorded lectures.
“I like this hybrid mode. It’s nice to go to the dance studios with the big mirrors but it’s also nice to be online for my night classes because it’s difficult to commute to City College,” said student Sherry Wang.
In fall 2020, the nursing department was one of the first to go back to in-person instruction for labs and clinic hours. Students still attend all lectures over Zoom and social distance while in labs.
Even the minimal online learning and social distancing still has had an effect on students. Nursing students take the same classes together for all four semesters, which usually results in a tight knit group. Since smaller groups are required for in person meetings, it has been difficult for students to get to know those not in their group.
“I don’t want to say the students aren’t as close as a cohort but it’s not the same comradery as a big group which I’m used to seeing,” said nursing department chair Joyce Coffey.
Online classes have also created new challenges for teachers as they find the best ways to reach remotely. Coffey said, “I’ve enjoyed the challenge of teaching online; it’s kept me on my toes as I find the best ways to keep students engaged.”
Engagement is something students have noticed as a double edged sword. Many love the convenience of watching record lectures later though they simultaneously miss the collaboration that would happen in a classroom or zoom call.
“Finding the motivation and time to get work done at home is challenging, It would definitely be less difficult on campus” Student Francesca Bavaro said.
Steele has noticed more of interest and stronger relationships being formed by his in person students since returning back, saying more students have been staying after class to talk and the work the students have been sharing has been emotional and real.
Many students and teachers alike have felt frustrations about still mostly being shut down compared to other schools in the area. Bavaro said, “being at home has felt really isolating.”
“My mantra to get through difficult times has been what’s good for students and what do they want, which I feel has fallen down the priority scale,” said Steele.