Ice day leaves some online students out in the cold

Lauren Florence

Instead of using their laptops to watch Netflix on Thursday morning when classes were delayed, some students logged on to online courses to complete class work. 

Inclement winter weather Wednesday night and Thursday morning led University officials to close campus until 1 p.m. and delay classes until 2 p.m. Thursday.           

Even when the UT campus closed, journalism junior Felicia Rodriquez still had to log on to her Social Media Journalism online class, in which students are assigned to update social media sites during assigned shifts. Rodriguez said she didn’t mind doing her class work even when campus classes were canceled.

“In some ways, I never view Social Media Journalism as a class because it’s just fun for me and I love using social media,” Rodriguez said. “Also, I was enjoying my breakfast at the same time, and I had Netflix on in the background, so it was a very easy ‘snow day.’”

Gavino Abrigo, senior administrative associate for University Extension, the UT online and evening class program, said online classes usually follow what the University does when it comes to cancellations, but, this time, some online classes continued since students could complete their work online.

Online classes appeal most to students who may need extra hours or are looking to get additional credit when normal classes don’t fit into their schedules, Abrigo said.

“Usually it’s convenient in their schedule, and more about the availability of them not being able to attend a regular Monday-Wednesday-Friday class or Tuesday-Thursday class,” Abrigo said. “The reason most UT students take our evening courses is they just don’t have the availability in their daytime schedules.”

One online course, Government 312L: U.S. Foreign Policy, canceled its online session because the lecture is live-streamed.

“Our course is a live, online course with a large production team [of] over 10 people,” Patrick McDonald, the government associate professor who teaches the course, said. “When the University closes, we cannot require them to come to work, so we chose to follow University guidelines.”

McDonald said teaching the class online means making up for cancellations is fairly easy, since professors can tape the missed lecture and then post it to Canvas for students to watch later.

Caroline Hunt, communication studies and human relations junior, said she would have been frustrated if her online classes were canceled. 

“As an adult, snow days are really not as big of a deal — if anything, they can just kind of be annoying,” Hunt said.