Students adjust to online classes, self-quarantine

MCCC has switched all face-to-face classes to an online format, causing students to adapt to a new way of learning. On March 19, MCCC announced that all classes would be moved to an online format for the

Student Rose Tibai works on coursework at her home. Tibai, a graphic design student, was one of many students affected by MCCC’s switch to online-only classes in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Photo courtesy of Rose Tibai.

rest of the Winter/Spring 2020 semester in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“For the remainder of the Winter Semester, MCCC will continue to deliver classes via remote formats, including labs that can be moved to online formats; however, the college is cancelling [sic] all face-to-face labs and clinicals, fieldwork, internships and co-ops, and testing services that cannot be delivered remotely,” MCCC said in an email.

Six classes were canceled altogether, which included a national electrical code class, intro automated manufacturing class and four music classes. An email from MCCC said students who were enrolled in one of these canceled classes will receive an incomplete for the class. In the Fall 2020 or Winter 2021 semesters, they can take any section of the same course free of charge.

Over 20 classes had portions of the class that were altered, including canceled labs and other activities that can no longer be completed through an online format.

Classes that were affected by this include all nursing program classes and certain welding, art, culinary, automotive and other classes.

A statement from MCCC’s website said instruction for these altered will continue to be delivered remotely, but students may need to complete some portion of the class face-to-face. If the class cannot be completed by the end of the Winter 2020 semester, students will receive an incomplete and may retake the class in Fall 2020 or Winter 2021 semester.

Students who are enrolled in the nursing program also undergone a lot of changes when classes were moved to an online-only format.

Claira Pilz, a nursing student, said that nursing classes were affected greatly by the switch to online-only classes.

“Everything was switched to online, including clinicals,” Pilz said. “Lectures are all recorded, or we are given PowerPoint slides. Exams must be proctored, so those have been ‘canceled’ until we can meet in person.”

Fellow nursing student Seth Collins has also experienced difficulties with his nursing classes after the switch.

“My NURS-208 class has been halted due to the fact that our instructors and program won’t let us take our exams online,” Collins said. “We are being told to keep up on learning material through Brightspace lectures, but won’t be able to resume testing on any of the material until we are allowed back on campus.”

As a nursing student, Collins said that the transition to online classes has not been easy.

“It has definitely made the process harder,” Collins said. “Nursing is a very in-depth study area, and it helps to have a teacher there that can explain things in person and clarify the material.”

Other areas of study were also affected. Culinary student Eric Dines said all the in person events were canceled.

“We had a few buffets for our classes canceled, and it’s been a little heartbreaking on the entire culinary class,” Dines said. “We all put a lot of love and care into preparing the menus for the buffets, so to see something you worked hard on canceled it can be saddening to think about.”

Fellow culinary student Madyson McCullom explained how the culinary program has culinary students complete their culinary coursework at home.

“We have decided to do our culinary classes at home in a ‘Chopped’ competition style,” McCullom said. “Our chef is to give (following COVID-19 social distancing guidelines) each student a tote of random ingredients that we must take home and make meals out of for our final grade.”

In addition, McCullom said the culinary program’s graduation ceremony has been canceled. She said although she will receive her culinary certification, she is disappointed by not being able to attend classes any longer.

“So much of my time was put into my studies and being at MCCC every day,” McCullom said. “It’s unfortunate that I won’t be able to go back to my program to finish my studies with my best friends.”

Student Brett Ortolano is an electrical engineer technology major and is enrolled in multiple classes, including engineering physics and data acquisition and instrumentation.

He said his professors have handled the switch well, but it is difficult to maintain the same value of instruction in an online class in absence of labs.

“These particular classes are at their best with a professor in the classroom to gain the most value,” Ortolano said. “Physics and Data Acquisition had valuable labs associated with the class that provides hands-on experience with the related classroom topics. It is difficult to replace that experience in an online environment.”

Although some students were affected, others feel that online classes have made their coursework easier.

Kaitlyn Koelber, an early childhood education major, said she misses attending her macroeconomics class but feels her coursework has become easier since switching to an online format.

“I feel like professors are a lot more lenient and it’s a bit easier,” Koelber said.

“The majority of my classes have become easier and less stressful,” Economics student Austin Kipfmiller said. “Public Speaking does not have the stress of speaking in front of a group anymore. Sociology now has online tests that are open for a week.”

Although Kipfmiller feels his classes have become easier, he is disappointed that he is no longer able to participate in on-campus activities. Graduation and Honors Night, both of which he was planning on participating in, are postponed. Kipfmiller is also a writing fellow and said he now must tutor students using email.

“Altogether, this was my final year at MCCC (and MCMC) and many of the main events I was looking forward to are now postponed or canceled,” Kipfmiller said.

Business management student and Student Government historian Alexis Cowell said she has also been disappointed by canceled events on campus.

“I have really been affected by these cancellations because I am an officer of the clubs Student Government and Ambassadors,” Cowell said. “We had a lot of events (planned) that were canceled. It’s heartbreaking that our events were canceled, and we had to cut our year short.”

Other than acclimating to online classes, many students have had to adjust to self-quarantining in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Nuclear engineering student Jenna Magrum said she has self-quarantined because her mother is a nurse practitioner. Magrum also has asthma, which puts her at a higher risk of being seriously affected by the virus if she contracts it.

Magrum said that being in self-isolation has negatively affected her anxiety.

“It’s just a stressful and scary time,” Magrum said.

Lack of social interaction because of self-quarantine has also been difficult for some students.

“I miss a lot of people — my sister, my friends, my boyfriend,” Rose Tibai, a graphic design student, said. “We still talk over messages, calling, even video calls, but it is very quickly becoming not enough. I am a new and deep type of sad.”

It can be easy to focus on the negative consequences of the coronavirus. But many students are trying to make the best out of a difficult situation.

Claira Pilz said the switch to online classes has given her more time to focus on her loved ones.

“I have had a lot more time to spend with family and I’ve been able to tackle some housework I’ve been putting off,” Pilz said.

Other students have been able to focus on their hobbies while at home.

“I’ve gotten to start painting a bit more,” Magrum said. “I’m also trying to work my way through my ‘to read’ list. Another perk is being able to play the new Animal Crossing.”

Rose Tibai has been able to work on her art skills while in quarantine.

“I am trying new things to improve my knowledge in art,” Tibai said. “I want to draw more. It is my passion and I don’t get to do it nearly as much as I’d like.”

Accounting student Meghan Langley said that the switch to online classes and quarantine has allowed her to rest and recharge.

“I am grateful that I am unable to travel as much and let my body rest,” Langley said. “Being able to relax a little more and spend time to myself has been very nice.”

Student Brittanie Bruck said the situation has made her appreciate everyday life a bit more.

“I do believe that I’m more grateful for the time before all this craziness struck,” Bruck said. “I also think this is making me a little more aware that the problems I have really aren’t that bad at all.”