By Elizabeth Scalzo
After the email blast from President Christopher Capuano on March 10, FDU students have questions concerning the move to all-online instruction and the future of their classes, as well as that for on-campus student organizations and clubs.
On Tuesday, the university opted to go to virtual learning and close the campus to students while remaining open after spring break to deal with the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe. No cases have been reported on any of the FDU campuses.
Students were informed they should leave the dorms, and they could return to campus to pick up items from their dorms on Sunday, March 15, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Monday, March 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Across New Jersey, Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Drew. Kean. Monmouth, Montclair State, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Princeton, Ramapo. Rider, Rowan, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Stevens Institute of Technology, William Paterson and The College of New Jersey have instituted similar policies.
The Equinox has been reaching out to the FDU student community to hear students’ concerns about remote online learning.
How will this affect their GPA? How will the hands-on aspects of classes work? Will the quality of their education suffer?
Chris Graham, a sophomore civil engineering major, said, via Instagram direct message, “Online learning is going to make it harder for students to be successful in class. I personally have trouble focusing, to begin with, and I don’t do well with obtaining information from just reading. I prefer to have a lecture. Sitting in class for a lecture also helps students focus more than sitting in front of a screen with everything still happening around them — wherever they are. It’s just difficult for me knowing online learning could make or break my GPA this semester.”
Freshman biology major Jelani Richardson said, via text message, “I’m mostly worried about my lab classes because they are all interactive. That’s the whole point of the class. Having it online kind of defeats the purpose. The class doesn’t have homework because our homework is our lab reports, which are based off of the data we collect in class.”
Students also worry about their quality of education, and if this will cause them to have a lack of motivation.
Freshman finance major Jasper Macatulad said, via text message, “Going to class every day makes me feel productive and engaged. But now that we are transitioning to online classes, I think I will not be as productive and will feel lazy.”
Another more logistical concern from students is if there will be a refund of room and meal plans if they continue to stay off campus until the end of the semester.
“I’m going to demand a housing refund for at least half of the semester,” Macatulad said.
Overall, students contacted by The Equinox are upset about the entire situation.
“Although I understand the concern about the virus, I am concerned as to how this will affect the quality of my education as well as my bill because I did pay to live on campus,” said Jesse McCormick, a junior computer science major.
In addition, student workers at the Student Union Building (SUB) were informed by Rashard Mills, assistant director of student union building operations, that all student employment, in-person meetings and events will be suspended until further notice. This is a problem for student workers who rely on the paycheck and clubs and organizations who use the SUB as their meeting place.
Meghan Tonner-Mintier, a freshman psychology student, said via GroupMe message, “Not having a job at the current moment has affected me in several ways. I have limited money due to this and it makes it difficult to help support my family and impacts my ability to do the things I love and have to pay for, such as taekwondo.”
Gabby Sesin, a junior humanities major and the president of Alpha Sigma Tau, said, via Instagram direct message, “Our national office has reached out to all of the chapters to set up Zoom (video conferencing service) logins to continue chapter meetings while universities are shut down so we can continue to conduct necessary business.”
The student radio station has also closed to the student radio hosts as of March 11, according to an email blast sent by Professor Ian Ranzer.
All student organizations have also been invited to the SGA Zoom meeting on Wednesday, March 18. Provost Gillian Small may address the group.
The halt to campus activities and in-person classes are not just concerns for students but make them wonder what’s to come in the next email blast from the university.
Staff reporters Jhoana T. Merino, Madison Martinez and Kenneth Ramirez Castro contributed to interviews in the story.
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