The University Insider is The Daily’s first faculty and staff-oriented newsletter. This weekly newsletter will give U-M faculty and staff the ability to see the most important issues on campus and in Ann Arbor — particularly those related to administrative decisions — from the perspective of an independent news organization. It will also provide a better understanding of student perspectives.

With nearly two weeks of classes behind them, students told The Michigan Daily they are confused with hybrid learning and are struggling to adjust to an unprecedented semester. 

In accordance with the University of Michigan’s public health-informed in-residence semester, schools and departments were tasked with deciding whether or not to hold their classes online, in person or as a hybrid of both. The academic semester began for students Aug. 31, with around 78 percent of credit hours being held online. 

Nursing senior Paige Coughlin said she found her first week back on campus to be different from previous years, citing the lack of organization as one major weakness of hybrid learning. 

“I haven’t gotten a lot of information ahead of time,” Coughlin said. “I’m kind of half-online, half-in-the-classroom and that changes every single class.”

On the other hand, LSA junior Rashi Watwani said while she did not have high expectations for this semester, given the limitations of virtual learning, she has enjoyed her courses so far. 

“I wasn’t sure about this semester a couple of weeks ago, but now that it has started, I’m really enjoying it,” Watwani said. “On the first day, my instructor said, ‘Everyone keeps talking about the limitations of Zoom, but I wanna discuss what we can do with it.’ We had a really healthy discussion that started our class off on a positive note.”

Watwani said she has a few issues with the hybrid learning style, explaining that she believes faculty should improve their communication as the semester progresses.  

“My only concern is using one method of communication, be it Slack, Canvas or email,” Watwani said. “When everything is remote it’s easy to get overwhelmed with multiple apps, and I hope instructors move to only one medium moving forward.”

Engineering junior Chintan Modi said his transition back to school this year has been more difficult than years past due to the fact that the majority of classes are asynchronous

“It’s just been a little more hard to focus just because all of my classes are online and all my classes are asynchronous too,” Modi said. “It’s hard to flip the switch from summer mode into school mode, but I feel like I’m slowly getting back into pace whereas in other years, where I had to actually go to classes every single day, it happened a lot faster.”

Engineering junior Nilsa Pedanou said she was surprised to see that she had any in-person classes since only 9 percent of engineering courses are being taught in person. 

“I actually have a lot more in-person classes than I thought I would, mainly for my engineering courses, which I think sheds a lot of light on the priorities of engineering classes and their methods of instruction,” Pedanou said. 

Additionally, Pedanou echoed the concerns of other students, saying that her virtual classes have been the most trouble-prone so far and that she still is hopeful for the rest of the semester to improve. 

“It’s been interesting,” Pedanou said. “There’s a lot of interruptions and technical difficulties, but most of my professors are just proceeding as usual, which is kind of concerning since they’re not really taking into consideration all of the difficulties that we might encounter. So far, so good. I have some hope.”

Daily Staff Reporter Lily Gooding can be reached at goodingl@umich.edu.

 

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