Will online classes be just as good as in-person classes?

By Ariel Sanchez

Multimedia Journalist

Tarleton State University students have been left wondering what the university will do concerning students who depend on in-person classes.

On Friday, March 20, President James Hurley went live to update students, faculty and staff on the university’s response to the coronavirus. There were two sessions that could be viewed on Tarleton’s Facebook page and their YouTube channel.

In the video Hurley addresses the issue head-on.

Photo courtesy of Tarleton State University
Photo from the email Tarleton State University sent all students Friday, March 20 alerting them of the upcoming live stream with President Hurley

“As all of you know, the learning distribution that has occurred not only here at Tarleton but across the country has forced us to move to a virtual learning platform,” Hurley said.

Hurley goes on to explain that the university is sensitive to students who came to Tarleton for the on-campus experience. He also goes on to let students know that they can reach out to their professors, departments and faculty for help navigating online learning for those who have not had online classes before.

“Each dean has created unique virtual learning opportunities for each student, especially in the lab,” Hurley said.

Furthermore, Hurley mentioned he has heard great things from the dean of the college of health sciences about what she is doing with the nursing students who depend on in-person classes.

For students staying on campus or still in Stephenville, the library and other buildings on campus are open so students will have access to a computer.

As for the students who went home, Tarleton has sent students a link via their Tarleton email accounts with a list of companies that provide free internet access.

“This is something that’s evolving hourly, certainly daily and weekly. We wanted to be very patient and deliver it in our approach. And so as of now, our plans are after that April 10 time frame is for us to return to that face to face environment. With the current trends and way that the coronavirus continues to spread, I think that’s highly unlikely. We will make that decision sometime between April 3 and April 5… At that point we will not move the needle weekly. We will simply decide we are going to continue on this platform for the remainder of the year,” Hurley said.

He predicts that we are headed towards students having online classes for the rest of the semester due to the state of coronavirus in the U.S. as a whole.

As for a student’s perspective, Damla Ustundag, a senior kinesiology major, gives her thoughts and feelings on the matter.

“I personally think that online classes will give us better education as in-person classes, because we will have more resources to access related to our classwork, such as Zoom. The professor is allowed to record the lecture and post it on canvas, which we can also watch later for reference,” Ustundag said.

With her minor, Ustundag has labs. So far she hasn’t heard anything from her professor regarding the online lab yet.

“I feel like for some of us, doing online class is going to be a hard time but using Zoom, especially with recorded lectures, is going to benefit us,” Ustundag said.

Overall, Tarleton is doing its best to monitor the situation and do what is best for its students.

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