By HUNTER GARZA
The social sciences department was prepared to transition online in case of an emergency.
Associate Dean and psychology professor Dora Falls-Saucedo said that the pandemic was not one of the reasons they were prepared for the transition to online-only classes. This early planning made the move seamless.
The reason for the early planning was more geared at the possibility of a student being absent. However, a national emergency was also included in the list of reasons to prepare.
Accounting professor Regina Brown said it’s time for students to learn and collaborate with their classmates through eCampus, email and discussion boards.
“Teamwork will make the dream of passing work,” she said.
Brown said that while transitioning to online classes was a struggle at first, it’s also a great time to learn something new as well. The biggest challenge she faces is students’ lack of timely communication and follow-through.
“Most students haven’t realized that this isn’t class as usual,” Brown said. “This is the time for students to learn to collaborate with their classmates using the available tools.”
Brown spent two weeks preparing to lecture online and admits that her first attempt using Google Meets on Monday wasn’t ideal. With lots of frozen screens and response delays from students, she tried another platform, Microsoft Teams, and was much more successful in presenting. Class interaction went smoother as well.
Program coordinator Patrick Patterson said that he is surprised at all of the email traffic for credit lectures.
He recalls a few years ago when the majority of faculty were asked to put their course content online regardless of whether it was a lecture course or not.
He said the only issues would be the forensic science and death investigation course which does require some lab time, but he said that the instructor has made the appropriate steps to rectify the situation.
Professor Krista Troup, who teaches forensic science and death investigation courses, has since instituted discussions that are due weekly and has located videos of labs that would’ve been hands-on and is now having students watch the video and write reports.
“It is certainly not ideal,” Troup said. “But under the circumstances, it will work!”
Gerontology, Social Work, Substance Abuse
Program coordinator Phillip Ortiz said the biggest challenge for the program was the practicum students. Those students are near the end of their program and are in the field instruction course, which is basically an internship where they are completing field hours at different agencies throughout the metroplex.
Many of those agencies have closed or released the practicum students until the outbreak subsides. These students are being given extensions into the summer term.
Ortiz said about 60 percent of all the courses in the social work and substance abuse counseling was already offered online so the transition hasn’t been too difficult for the remaining 40 percent.
Professor Kristina Hunsinger said her classes have been fairly easy to transition to online and is streaming her courses via Microsoft Teams for the remainder of the semester.
“That’s been really nice so far,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed the option to stream and maintain contact with students that way.”
Since it’s the first week, she and her students did introductions. She found out many of her students were stuck at home and bored, either out of a job or with parents who were out of work. She included a COVID-19 resources page on her eCampus course.
“It’s nice to have a routine to meet as a class in order to create some normalcy,” she said.
Dora Falls-Saucedo said the psychology department already had their material online so they were able to make a seamless transition to online only classes.
“I would have to say that I am quite proud of our psychology discipline faculty,” she said. “They are making this process move so quickly and smoothly for current students.”