Students respond to virtual instruction switch

Due to the quick-spreading nature of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic in California and across the world, the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs announced a temporary pause of all in-person instruction including lecture, seminar, laboratory, activity, supervisory and independent study classes at Cal Poly Pomona starting March 13 to March 17. Professors were given time during the temporary pause to quickly learn virtual teaching formats as well as reschedule their syllabi for students. 

CPP President Soraya M. Coley announced March 17 via email that the university would officially be transitioning all classes to virtual instruction and/or remote modes of instruction starting March 18, and classes will remain that way until the end of spring semester. Students were encouraged to return home and prepare to continue their classes and studies through online formats such as the Zoom video communication app.

CPP students were asked to share their initial experiences with online classes as well as their initial thoughts about how the university’s transition to virtual instruction affects them personally. Photos are courtesy of each individual student.

Ian Galang | Second-year architecture student

“Zoom is alright. Some of the older teachers who aren’t so tech savvy are kinda aloof on it and waste a lot of time. I’m in architecture. And being online sucks, as we’re used to collaborating with (our) professors and they’re used to seeing physical modes to better understand our thought process.”

Raven Sanqui | Fourth-year industrial engineering student

 “I mostly feel sad I didn’t get to say proper farewells to my classmates and (professors) before break. It’s nice to not worry as much about getting sick …. As long as professors adjust appropriately and understandingly, I’m OK. I really don’t want my grades to get messed up because of this.”

Eleanor Ayerves | Second-year food science and technology student

“So far, I haven’t had any technical difficulties or problems with classes going online. I do know that it has been hard for professors who are not very technologically minded. I’m pretty happy that I get to stay home, honestly.”

Richard Arellano | First-year graduate student in information security

“CPP going full remote for the semester is a beautiful thing to those of us who live in Los Angeles. It’s saving me from the hellish hour-long drive in traffic from L.A. to Pomona. It’s saving me from getting home at 10:30 p.m. three nights a week. I’m enjoying my time on Zoom, setting up a funny virtual background to try to make light of this stressful COVID-19 situation.”

Hailey Arzaga, fifth-year psychology and criminology student

“One of my teachers wants me to do a lockdown browser (it locks down the rest of your computer while you take an exam) and we don’t want to do it. We’ve been having trouble downloading it and we told her so she’s trying to fix it. Like, please just give us a break during this time. Not like we can get together anyway. All my other teachers are great except one. She moved our deadline up, hasn’t communicated and is making things difficult. So yeah, it’s on her.”

Raina Coutin, fourth-year history student

“(I) just did my first Zoom meeting and a breakout meeting too. Everything worked. It wasn’t for school. It was for a group I’m in, but it felt like a good practice opportunity for me. (Regarding class experience with Zoom,) (the professor) actually made a video of them lecturing with a screen view of their bullet notes. Then we were able to ‘meet’ during office hours through Zoom. It went well. I’m a bit concerned for my education performance because I have a lot of anxiety right now. I like the virtual instruction so far.”

Kevin Lee, third-year mechanical engineering student

“So, for me personally, I haven’t had any technical problems with using Zoom, viewing lectures or turning in assignments. One of my professors, my fluids mechanics Professor Zhao has actually had an online format for quite a while now when it comes to turning in homework and accessing the lectures from home. She also started preparing to move the class online before it was announced last Thursday, so the transition for that class has been very smooth. Also, as an engineer, though, I have a lot of labs and projects and I have no idea what the situation is going to be with those. Some of my projects were supposed to need resources on campus like 3D printers but now that all those resources are off-limits to us … we’ll see.”

Photos and quotes compiled by staff writer Amber Li.

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