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Students, staff adjust to in-person classes

By Meredith Lyverse

Students adjust back to campus life.

Professors are changing the way they teach classes to accommodate students who are used to taking classes and tests from home.

Juniors and seniors who have experienced Bellarmine pre-Covid said they feel comfortable taking timed, in-person tests, but doing it again was an adjustment.

Senior Josh Craig said he failed the first two tests in one of his test-heavy business classes because he wasn’t used to taking a test with pen and paper.

“I bombed the first in-person test and quiz just because it was a shock,” Craig said. “It just took some getting used to.”

Craig said now that the semester is almost over, he’s used to test-taking but finds it hard to focus during lectures.

“Trying to focus on lectures is hard because I’m used to being able to re-watch lectures until they made sense,” Craig said. “It’s [class] the same as it was before, but I got used to using resources online.”

Business professor Carla Childers teaches two sections of principles of marketing and still gives tests online so her students can spend more time on projects.

“Online exams were the one thing I kept the same from last year,” Childers said. “That seemed more important than exams, getting them in the swing of things.”

Childers said she and her students are still in transition mode when it comes to getting used to being back in the classroom. She said she would rather her students have more time to participate in class and engage with peers in class than spend that time taking exams.

“I wanted to focus on things inside the classroom like activities and not take away from that with things like exams,” Childers said.

Childers also said she wants to give those students who might have to quarantine the flexibility of online exams.

“You know, we’re still transitioning, and I’ve had students who have had Covid or athletes returning to normal schedules and this leaves more room for them to get exams done,” Childers said.

Senior nursing major Sarah Fitzgerald said she is glad classes are back in person because of the hands-on nature of her major.

“Last year, we weren't allowed to go to the hospitals so we weren't getting that real practice that we actually need,” Fitzgerald said.

Although Fitzgerald said she likes being in the classroom, she said the transition from online to in-person lectures made preparing for tests more difficult.

“There’s so much content being thrown at you in one class period,” Fitzgerald said. “I have 300 pages of notes for one exam.”

Fitzgerald said her professors haven’t been accommodating with the transition. She said she felt overwhelmed by the lectures and tests and asked for a change.

“We asked for several quizzes instead of exams over seven units each, but they didn’t really hear us out,” Fitzgerald said.

Junior Jorgia McMeans said she’s surprised at how quickly she adjusted back to on-campus life with no problem.

“I find it way easier to focus in class now that I’m back from online school,” McMeans said. “I didn’t realize how much I actually wasn’t paying attention during virtual classes until I realized how much more engaged I am in classes now.”

McMeans is a psychology major and takes tests in all of her classes. She said she prefers taking physical tests because she feels more focused.

“The only weird thing was going from open-note tests to regular tests,” McMeans said. “I had to get used to studying again, and I’m surprised at how I was able to get back into the habit again.”

Psychology professor Dr. Courtney Keim is also giving her exams online. There is not a time limit, and they are open book.

“I thought the online exams worked really well last year,” Keim said. “But I think having more flexibility in when and where students can take the exams means that they are able to perform well, so my exams should be measuring student knowledge and learning.”

Keim said she noticed participation and attendance is lower than previous years.

“Some of my students do seem less reluctant to participate,” Keim said. "I think the social distancing and masks has made it harder for students to connect and develop friendships or connections with others.”

Keim said the transition from online to in-person classes was difficult because she hadn’t been in the classroom for over a year and was concerned about the spread of Covid.

“I think we have found a rhythm in our new normal now, and the protocols Bellarmine has put in place have made our campus as safe as it can be,” Keim said. "Things are still really hard, and really exhausting, but I am glad to be back in the classroom, engaging with students.”


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