Let’s move away from in-person classes

Sydney York

COVID-19 has brought a multitude of inconveniences, tragedies and stipulations. For some students at UT, the risk of exposure from attending in-person classes is yet another obstacle. In-person classes are also difficult to attend when they’re either preceded or followed by online classes, as there is hardly any time to arrive on time to the in-person class.

For students like myself who have an in-person class sandwiched between two online classes, finishing one lecture while trying to get to the next is nearly impossible and highly inconvenient.

Despite the COVID-19-related risks and scheduling difficulties students face, professors have continued to hold in-person classes that require a certain amount of attendance to acquire credit for the course. 

Students are left scrambling to make it to their classes at their scheduled time. Additionally, as cases spike, student concerns are increasing along with them.

To address this dilemma, professors should make all classes that are not already fully online into hybrid classes where students can decide if they want to attend virtually or in person, depending on their preferences and comfort with being on campus during a pandemic. These classes can continue to mandate attendance, as long as students are given the choice between in-person or online attendance.

My in-person class dictates I need to be present in-person at least twelve times to receive credit for the course. This policy is not only inconsiderate but unfair to students who are uncomfortable attending class on campus or unable to attend the class on time because of conflicting schedules.

On the other hand, sustainability studies sophomore Jamie Browning said her in-person class works better with her schedule, allows her to focus more and keeps her feeling on schedule throughout the week. However, for another student, attending an in-person class several times a week could be a heavy burden. 

Browning says her experience with her in-person class “has not been bad.”  

“Going to this class keeps me on schedule because I have it three days a week, whereas my other classes are asynchronous,” Browning said. 

Implementing mandatory hybrid classes would allow students that prefer to be on campus the option to do so, while simultaneously allowing students that are worried about the virus or favor online classes the option to choose to be online-only. I would deeply appreciate the opportunity to attend my in-person class online without worrying about receiving credit for the course or missing out on information.

Browning said she would prefer mandatory hybrid classes. 

“I feel like online school has zero structure, and it makes it extremely hard for me to focus,” Browning said. 

Browning explains that the difficulty of online class is how optional online classes feel, even though she knows they are not any more optional than in-person classes. This statement seems to resonate with a majority of students who are more inclined to learning in person rather than online.

However, there are still a large number of students, myself included, who prefer attending their classes through Zoom because it is easier on our schedules, more convenient and just as informative.

Mandatory hybrid classes would be beneficial for all UT students as they give students the option to resume their studies during a pandemic in a way that suits them. By shifting their in-person classes to hybrid structures, professors can soften the struggles students are facing. 

York is a rhetoric and writing junior from Laredo, Texas.