Drake University permits professors to hold online classes in the fall, which leaves students with mixed feelings on their college experience and professors weighing the benefits and downfalls of online learning.
According to the Drake University Registrar, 47 percent of undergraduate instructors have opted to teach virtually, resulting in 41 percent of undergraduate courses being taught virtually as of Aug. 17.
Jenny Tran-Johnson, a faculty member at the Drake University Registrar, said it is important to remember faculty members had the option to teach their coursework remotely “if they had health concerns for themselves or someone they care for.”
With 176 instructors teaching online this fall, every instructor has their reasons for opting for online.
Matthew Mitchell, an associate professor of International Business and Strategy at Drake, decided to hold his classes virtually.
Mitchell said the online course is the most controllable in the fall semester, while the hybrid option of online and in-person is sometimes uncontrollable.
“I made the decision to be online mostly because I felt like the online experience would provide the most consistency and the best experience for my students,” Mitchell said.
There are many positives and negatives for online learning, and the effect it will have on students’ education and college career remains unknown.
Lee Jolliffe, a professor of journalism at Drake, said there are many pros to online learning, including more one-on-one time via online and being able to look back at past classes.
However, Jolliffe said she also sees the downfalls of online learning and how it could be a challenge for many.
“As a teacher, I can’t see when I’m losing your interest, I can’t answer your questions the moment you think of them and later those might be lost,” Jolliffe said. “You have to rely on yourselves for motivation and drive more than you would in a class space where feelings rise so much from interpersonal interaction.”
On Aug. 17, Drake Registrar reported having 18 percent of undergraduate students opting for remote delivery.
Jordyn Conard, a junior studying marketing and data analytics, said she didn’t want to take classes all online and feels Drake and professors are doing their best with the situation, but are struggling as well.
“I learn best when I attend class and take notes in real-time, with opportunities to ask questions and have conversations about the material with classmates,” Conard said.
While 18 percent of undergraduates have chosen full-time online delivery, many decided to continue in-person even if most of their classes are online.
Sophia Walker, a junior studying law, politics and society, has four out of her five classes online.
Walker said having the option to take only online classes is great, but she wished to continue to be in as many classes as possible in-person.
“People with underlying conditions or just don’t feel safe should not have to come to class,” Walker said. “I mostly considered it because of the ever-changing situation and not knowing for certain what will happen this semester.”
With students living on campus, many are worried about what will happen and how long the campus will be open.
Gracie Geist, a sophomore studying advertising, graphic design and public relations, said she is glad that Drake has given everyone options, as the pandemic isn’t ideal for anyone.
“My only hope is that everyone can begin the semester with an open mind and respect for others who take more precautions for the pandemic,” Geist said.