Expectations change in online classes
Abby Epstein – News Editor
A new environment requires new expectations. Professors had to rethink, and students had to learn, the etiquette of online classes.
“I don’t think the expectations I’m beginning with have changed, but my reaction when students are running into trouble have changed and I’m more willing to allow students to turn something in late,” said INQ professor Margot Schilpp.
Students said it seems their online professors have been a little more lenient when it comes to submitting assignments.
“I think some of my professors understand that people learn in different ways and that online learning is a challenge for a lot of students,” said environmental systems and sustainability major Abby Lucas, a sophomore. “I think some of my professors have become more lenient when it comes to deadlines while still maintaining the expectation that we are understanding the material.”
Professors’ expectation of being engaged and present in class have not changed with the transition.
“My professors definitely expect us to be engaged and contributing to conversations,” said Lucas. “Especially my Spanish class, because we have to be demonstrating that we are understanding the language and practicing.”
Biology major Noureen Nassra, a senior, said she has a class where grades are based on the students participation in class. Much of the class relies on collaboration and discussion between students.
One topic that has been brought up within faculty is if professors should force students to turn their cameras on during class.
“It’s really hard to talk to a screen of little black boxes with people’s names, and yet I’m definitely aware there may be equity issues that students might not want to turn their camera on and reveal their environment,” said Schilpp.
Nassra does not have her camera on during class, because the rest of the class do not. She said even with her camera off, she still makes sure she is listening to her professor.
“I’m the type of student that really needs to focus on what the teacher is saying in order to grasp the material, so I don’t go on my phone or anything,” said Nassra.
Lucas, on the other hand, is one student that has her camera on during class, unless she is in the locker room getting ready for soccer practice.
“I almost always have my camera on during class because it shows that I am paying attention to the professor,” said Lucas. “It sorts of keeps you accountable and engaged knowing that the professor can look to see if you’re paying attention.”
Every professor has their own expectations when it comes to their online classes. Some online classes require students to come to class with an understanding of the material already, while others teach whether or not students have prior knowledge.
“For one of my classes, the expectations are we come to class with our lecture notes and discussion questions ready and filled out so we can come to class and discuss them,” said Nassra. “For my other class, she sometimes posts the lectures beforehand but if not, we got into the lecture blindly and we listen to her lecture for the two hours.”
Because of all the change-overs, the University of Connecticut has now created a list of “netiquette” rules for online and distance learning. Some include; apply the same ethical standards as you would for in-person, consider where you are in cyberspace and do not participate in bullying or inciting arguments.
Expectations, collaboration, participation—are all a part of figuring out the etiquette of online classes.
“One of things I think that has been positive about being online is I think it’s allowing students who might not ordinarily reach out to other students to do that,” said Schilpp, “especially with breakout rooms.”