Share Your Thoughts: Transitioning Back Into Fully Remote Students

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First-year Enoch Chen chose to stay home in Taiwan this semester. Chen is a DePauw School of Music student and intends to major in violin. 

His favorite class is a discussion-based German class, however, the 13-hour time difference between Taiwan and Greencastle, IN makes remote learning even more challenging. Sometimes, Chen waits almost two days before he receives email responses from his professors.

This is a photo of Chen’s study space during his one-on-one violin session on Zoom.

The microphone is a necessity for Chen. “You know that the quality of the audio is not that good, so I basically have an external microphone. I use it so the sound is clearer,” Chen said. 

This week is the third week of the Spring semester of 2021. Some students are still struggling to be full-time students again because of the entire remote format. However, all classes, whether in-person or mixed, are fully remote until March 1. 

Senior Tarinni Kakar, an international student from India, is a double major in economics and religious studies. Kakar compared this year’s experience to years prior to COVID-19. 

“Right now it’s just a straight transition from going to class on Zoom to doing homework on my laptop,” Kakar said. “I think it’s just very tiring for a few days and I feel like the semester hasn’t been doing that well when taking breaks and sticking to my schedule in terms of spending equal time on breaks and equal time on homework.”

This is a photo of Kakar’s study space.

Kakar has one discussion-based class that is the mixed format. “I feel like the discussions will be more fulfilling and much more interesting when they happen face to face,” Kakar said.

Senior Will Jacob, an economics major and communications minor, is also looking forward to finding some “normality” by attending in-person classes.  

“I think it’s a little bit tough to stay organized with remote classes,” Jacob said. He thinks various homework assignments online and different Zoom links are confusing compared to in-person classes. 

This is a photo of Jacobs’ study space.

Jacob is taking four classes this semester and one of them, managerial accounting, is a mixed class. He thinks he will be more engaged in the material when he does return to his accounting class in person due to “just being close to the board and actually seeing the professor face to face.”

Senior Emily Graves has her own tiny studio space at home. Graves is a studio art major and has been working remotely since DePauw shut down last March. This was her childhood room. Because of “too dispiriting” fully remote classes, she converted it into a tiny studio where she can feel a little bit more creative.

This is a photo of Graves’ studio at home.

Graves’ is really appreciative of all of her professors to be “a wonderful source of support and encouragement.” Her professors are willing to ship art supplies to the students who need them. “My professors are absolutely incredible,” Graves said.

Graves’ senior seminar, senior project, is her favorite class this Spring. “I’m so excited about the work that I’m currently making for our exhibition at the end of the semester,” Graves said. 

Graves compares her previous first month of school to this February fully remote classes. “I think that a lot of upperclassmen can agree that online classes are largely a shadow of the excellence, rigor, and engagement that we were so used to before COVID-19 hit,” Graves said.