Professors prepare for winter weather

Taylor Nicole Richards – News Writer

There has not been nearly as many school cancellations this winter as last winter and spring. For any students who remember, about five monday classes were cancelled, taking out a little over a third of the semester. To students, snow days mean pushed deadlines, more days to study, and sleeping in.

Professors, however, do not deal with cancelled class as lightly. Many days removed means crunching the syllabus, which is usually just as much work as fall classes but squished into fewer meeting days.

“You have to adjust and you just can’t cover everything with enough days off,” said Robert Vaden-Goad, associate professor of mathematics. “I don’t expect too much out of class effort on snow days from my students either, since they’re probably busy plowing snow.”

The mathematics department handles excessive snow days differently than other departments. All math classes are prerequisites to keep moving up and according to Vaden-Goad, it’s not possible to just skim over material since it’ll be crucial in higher level courses. He said that he has to “be very careful” to leave out any material in the spring.

Usually, what kind of class one takes depends on how material is covered or consolidated in times of frequent closures. Troy Paddock, associate professor and chairman of the history department, said that he and other professors often turn to blackboard and go hybrid, half online half in-class, on their own terms.

“You can see in the spring semester that there’s many more options for hybrid classes in many different departments,” said Paddock, “and it makes sense because of how frequently some classes don’t have the chance to meet.”

Amy Silvestri, senior, said that after last weekend’s snow days, one of her professors gave a timed quiz on Blackboard. Another one of her professors sent out a video that was hours long and told her class to write a response to it.

“[My professors] are already trying to make up for lost class time by giving us hours of work at home instead,” said Silvestri. “It’s a bummer because who doesn’t want to relax on a snow day?”

Carlos Arboleda, Spanish professor, also said that he puts lectures up online when enough classes get cancelled, because he needs to “compensate for content that he can’t go over in person.” He said that spring semester classes take more effort to teach than fall semester ones.

“I take the time to update readings online more in during the spring, because you never know when there’ll be another storm,” said Arboleda. “[Cancellations] plus more holidays affect the quality of our programs. But I work to stay communicated with my students.”

Multiple professors agreed that fall classes tend to have an advantage. Vaden-Goad said that he did not like how losing class time meant students ultimately losing interaction time they could have had with each other.

“The fun part about college is the back and forth in class. When one student in the class picks up something, they can explain it, how they understood it. You lose that with too many snow days,” said Vaden-Goad.

Although there is a slight disadvantage in the spring, Paddock said that it’s important he and his colleagues already know how to “plow through” the material regardless. He said that faculty is always aware of the dangers of cancellations and are usually equipped with alternative formats or presentations to complete classes.

Photo Credit: Staff Photo


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