Online learning environment presents challenges for some

The coronavirus has presented an unprecedented situation for Grambling State university.

GSU announced on March 13 in a press release that students had to leave campus. The Office of Housing and Living wrote that it “urges students to vacate campus no later than March 23, 2020”. Soon after the reminder of the spring and summer sessions were transitioned to online only.

Some universities have indicated they will take an online or online/hybrid approach to the fall semester. 

Now, that class went from face-to-face to virtual. This is the new reality for everyone. 

The transition wasn’t easy for both professors and student. Some professors on campus did not have adequate training to immediately move to an the online environment of the Canvas software. In addition, students who live in low-income households reported in some cases they were unable to access a computer of internet connection. 

“Online classes are complicated at the moment it’s loads of work that isn’t usually given regularly when on campus,” Guess Scott, a Kinesiology major from Inglewood, Calif., said.  

Other students reported their prior familiarity with Canvas made the transition easy.

“I was already taking classes online, so it hasn’t bothered me much. It made finishing the semester more convenient,” Deandrea Sims, a Sociology major from Los Angeles, said. 

As a result many universities, including GSU, reverted to pass/fail options for students due to the crisis. Typically, the option to be graded on a pass/fail basis, rather than being given a letter or percentage grade, is only available to students for a limited number of classes.

According to the GSU Students for A Universal Pass System petition, the transition to online learning can potentially lead to lower GPA's, more course withdrawals, and students dropping out.

The question now is, will GSU be ready to increase online offerings for the fall?