Photo by Maria Barragan - Photo Editor
Some professors have transitioned to teaching outdoors, giving students the option to return to campus for class while Ventura County remains in the purple tier.
Hannah Schindler, sophomore communication major at California Lutheran University, requested to attend one of her courses outdoors and has attended a few sessions so far.
“On my first day in the outdoor classroom, it was very cold and windy. I had to bundle up (literally!) in warm clothes,” Schindler said in an email interview. “I also learned that I had to bring my computer with me since even though I was going to be in person, I was still going to be on Zoom.”
Jasmine Palafox, senior biochemistry and psychology major, said in an email interview that she was surprised about the low turnout in her first outdoor class session.
“When I first arrived to the outdoor classroom on February 18th, I was shocked because there were so few of us there. I thought many people would want to come and have a regular class,” Palafox said. “I will always remember that day with a huge smile on my face as I was reunited with my peers.”
English Professor Scott Chiu said he chose to teach his class outside when offered the option.
“I knew coming back to campus teaching was the goal for spring 2021, and I just thought it would be better to have the class in an outdoor space,” Chiu said in an email interview.
Not all students are required to attend the outdoor class and those learning remotely will be able to see everything that’s happening in the classroom thanks to 180-degree cameras.
“I think it’s good for them to know that they do have the option if they’d like some change from all the Zoom sessions on their schedules,” Chiu said. “So they know they make their best choices for their educational experiences given the circumstances and all the factors they are facing.”
Chiu said he knew that many or most students would not show up to the in-person sessions, but felt it was important for students to have the option.
“I think during this crazy time, every decision is not based on much certainty and every choice is just not always confident,” Chiu said. “It feels better to have options to consider than not have any option.”
Schindler said although it was windy and cold the day of her first outdoor class, it was a nice change of scenery.
“It was a nice change of pace and it felt good to go outside and be ‘normal’ for a few hours and actually see people face to face instead of on a computer screen,” Schindler said. “I did find it a little distracting to be outside due to the wind, but overall, I would say I prefer the class to be hybrid so I can get a mixture of in-person/virtual learning.”
Palafox agreed that the weather was not ideal on the first day, but being able to be on campus and amongst her peers made it worth it.
“It was windy, but I think I was too excited to focus on the wind that day,” Palafox said. “I’d take this outdoor class any day over a Zoom class. Yes, it was different than my last three years on campus, but I was overjoyed with being able to see my Professor and classmates face to face.”
The first outdoor classes have been relatively smooth and students who were eager to return to in-person learning are grateful for the opportunity.
“I feel so blessed and thankful for the opportunity to have this outdoor class,” Palafox said. “I’m so grateful for all the planning and hard work that went into this. Thank you so much Cal Lu for making this possible.”