Administration at The University of Scranton implemented a two-week pause in in-person instruction beginning on Sept. 19 and ended Sept. 30.
Both students and faculty were excited to get back in the classroom.
Professor Strain is a communications professor who teaches several classes ranging from a first-year seminar to a 300-level political communication course.
Strain enjoys being face-to-face because it offers a type of connection that being online cannot match.
“There is nothing like the vibe and energy of being face-to-face with a group of students and engaging one another in some interesting and intense discussion,” Strain said.
He also said there are some challenges to face this semester, including lecturing with a mask on and trying to teach to both an in-class group of students and to those who have to attend class through Zoom because they are in quarantine.
“Effectively communicating with both sets of students is far more challenging than I thought, and I knew it wouldn’t be easy,” Strain said.
Professor Strain said he has been proactive in trying to keep in touch with his students during the uncertain times. Not only does he maintain communication with his students, but he also just likes to check in on them.
“I have been more proactive than ever trying to maintain consistent communication with students,” Strain said. “[S]tudents learning remotely need to feel like they are still part of the class in every way, so my outreach is more consistent and focused than ever before.”
He aims to be there for his students so they know they have someone to talk to or to motivate them when things get tough. He said he is proud of them.
“I am more optimistic than ever that we will get through the semester without more campus shutdowns,” Strain said, “I’m proud of our students [for adapting] to life in COVID-19 America.”
Lizzy Pronitis is a sophomore biology pre-optometry major at Scranton. Pronitis enrolled in four courses this semester plus labs for certain science courses. Two of the four classes are in-person or hybrid, while the other two are all online.
She said learns best when she’s in the classroom, which is especially important for her lab courses.
“It’s hard to obtain much from the virtual lab, and I… [miss] out on a ton of hands-on experiments,” Pronitis said.
She said she misses the interactions that come with being in-person because it is harder to make connections online.
“My favorite part about being in the classroom is definitely meeting new people,” she said, “Unless professors require students to have their cameras turned on, most students will keep their cameras turned off for class.”
Though she’d rather be in person, she said she enjoys the fact that the information is always available when classes are virtual.
“I like being online because my professors post their lectures,” Pronitis said, “If I’m ever confused, I can revisit the lectures. This is a luxury we never had with regular classes,” she said.
Pronitis hopes to stay on campus for the rest of the semester, even though half of her classes are online. She likes to see the friendly faces around campus.