As COVID-19 Moves Summer Class Online, Students, Professors Express Anxiety Toward the Future

Maria Barragan, Reporter

As the month of April and spring semester come to a close, many university educators, students and employees are anxious about the future for summer and fall course offerings.  

California Lutheran University confirmed they are transitioning summer course sessions to online distance-learning in an email sent out in early April. 

“We made the decision to put your health as our number one priority and to offer all of our summer courses virtually,” Leanne Neilson, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs said in the email. “In the past weeks, our faculty members worked hard at re-creating their in-person courses as virtual courses on the fly, and we have all learned a lot. For the summer, we have increased our online offerings and we have upgraded the virtual course experience for you.” 

Dru Pagliassotti, a communication professor at Cal Lutheran will be teaching a summer website design course, and said she is concerned because the nature of her detailed computer course may be difficult to fully adapt to online. 

“We are just going to have to be real patient with each other because when I teach on a Mac computer, what I put on my screen is everything everyone else will see on their screen,” Pagliassotti said. “If I teach on Zoom and someone is working on a PC, the programs might look different and that might be confusing.”

In addition, the disparity in access to sufficient computer processing speeds and power may make it difficult for a shared course experience across students with different resources available to them. Pagliassotti’s course works with Adobe DreamWeaver, a website development and publishing tool which is highly demanding for operating systems.

Katie Statema, a junior at Cal Lutheran majoring in psychology, on a pre-med track said from her experience in online courses, she has noticed the online environment is a learning process for everyone. She added that her professors were working to do their best to help make the transition as painless as possible. 

“I’m not really sure what to expect, so I am concerned,” Statema said. “I do have two lab classes… I am not sure how they will be structured, and of course online classes are a little bit harder in their own way especially in an at-home environment.”

Although some in the Cal Lutheran community are expressing anxiety for the future of their academic courses, final decisions regarding how fall semester will take shape are still to be assessed and finalized. 

Traditional undergraduate students can find further information under Summer @ Cal Lutheran website and will be continuously updated. 

As for those students enrolled in the Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals program, the current recommendation given by the Academic Team is to continue proceeding with their registration for summer courses as planned.  The School of Management’soriginal plan for an 11-week summer term course has now been adapted into an equivalent 8-week course specifically revised for online delivery. 

If access to technology has become a difficulty for students during these circumstances the Academic Team encourages students to reach out to their faculty and  ITS for technical support at [email protected] or by calling (805)493-3698.