After more than two semesters of online learning, Arizona’s college students are experiencing positive and negative adjustments since a return to campus classrooms.
On Feb. 15, Arizona State University administrators announced that classes on all four ASU campuses would be entirely conducted in person in fall 2021.
Mark Searle, executive vice president and university provost, and Nancy A. Gonzales, provost pro tempore, released a statement to all ASU students via email about their plans for the fall 2021 semester.
“We continue to closely monitor COVID-19 on and near our campuses and remain ready to shift to remote learning if health conditions or local, state or federal guidelines require it,” Seale and Gonzales said in the email. “To allow students to make informed decisions, any changes in our management strategy and course modalities will be communicated as soon as possible as the fall semester approaches.”
Students are now in the third month of the semester since returning in person after learning via online and hybrid for the past year and a half.
Casey Sullivan, a junior nursing major, said she was a little nervous to return inperson at first because she has a nerve disease, which has caused her to proceed with caution during the start of the pandemic.
However, since returning she said she has adapted to the transition quickly and gotten back into the habit of her old study patterns.
“I’m much more of a visual person,” Sullivan said. “So getting to actually write stuff down as well as paying attention to in-class activities has actually improved my grades so far.”
She added that virtual learning was specifically challenging because as a nursing major, she was unable to physically participate in labs and manipulate data. But since returning in person, she said she is grateful for the face-to-face contact.
“I absolutely love the fact that we’re back in person,” she said. “I would really love to continue that in the future because it benefits my overall academic experience.”
Like Sullivan, Lakyn Holzer, a sophomore nursing major, said she is a visual learner and being back in in-person classes has made it a lot easier on her academic experience.
“It’s a lot easier to be in person and see it for myself rather than half-paying-attention online,” Holzer said. “I think this is definitely a better option for me especially with nursing and clinicals coming up next year.”
She added that although she has enjoyed being in-person for the first time, she is stuck in between that and the routine of her online learning habits.
“For hybrid, it was easy to go home or go out and do my classes somewhere else,” she said.
“Where now I’m really stuck on a certain schedule, which I think is also good for me because I really need to be held accountable to focus.”
Students at other colleges that returned to primarily in-person learning have said they have noticed similar habits of heightened accountability within their academic performance.
The University of Colorado Boulder is one of many universities that has returned to in-person learning this fall and Caroline Simonson, a senior finance and marketing major at Boulder, said she was thrilled when they announced that they would be returning back to normal, but as for the attendance aspect, she is struggling a little bit more.
“I have more of an incentive to not go to class since it’s in person because I know I will have that much more time by not going all the way to campus,” Simonson said.
“Versus online classes, like no matter where you are you might as well just hop on the Zoom link even if you’re not going to pay attention.”
She said that despite attendance, there have been far more benefits since returning full time, not only academically, but for her college experience as a whole.
“I think a big part of the Boulder culture is the community of everyone on campus altogether,” she said. “I hope they’re able to maintain keeping things in-person.”
Editor’s Note: Noelle Blumel is a student reporter at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
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