Iona College classes move online


Krystal Ortiz, News Editor

Iona College President Seamus Carey, Ph.D., announced that all classes will be moved online and that all employees should work from home on March 17. Since then, teachers and students have made adaptations to the big change.

Iona has taken many steps to further prepare students and faculty for the significant change, including training faculty for teaching online and ensuring resources remain available for students to access virtually.

Despite Iona’s preparedness, there is an unavoidable difference between in-person and online classes, leaving opinions split on preference.

According to junior Julia Welti, in-person classes give off a greater sense of unity, while online classes are more isolated.

“I much prefer in-person classes because I like having that feeling of being part of a ‘team,’” Welti said. “Although I can see all of my classmates on Zoom, I don’t feel that sense of togetherness that I get when I am sitting next to a friend or classmate.”

For junior Damon Willingham, online classes make it harder to focus.

“I prefer classes to be in-person,” Willingham said. “I personally learn better that way and it’s a lot easier to be detached, distracted or even less motivated when classes are in an online setting.”

Despite the fact that these changes leave some students wanting in-person classes again, students also see a positive in the different class setting.

“A positive for having classes online is that you get to be in the comfort of your own home, which is especially nice if you’re not feeling well,” Welti said.

Workloads have also changed since the transition to online, whether the workload has increased or decreased depends on a student’s particular classes.

Some students feel that the transition decreased their workload.

“I find that some of classes the workload has been lightened since a lot of it was in person based,” Willingham said. “Other classes have increased their load to try and compensate for not being able to meet in person as they would like and opted to not use Zoom.”

Some students see a mixture of change in their workload.

“For three of my classes, I feel like the workload is basically the same because we have normal class time on Zoom and then assignments to work on separately, like usual,” Welti said. “But my fourth class is not being held on Zoom; instead we are required to do a whole bunch of different assignments and activities to contribute to our final grade for the class.”

Much of the faculty applauded Iona for cancelling classes the week before spring break, which ensured student safety and also gave administration and IT the ability prepare for the second half of the semester online, according Dr. Christina Carlson, assistant chair and associate professor of the English Department.

“Since then, there have been virtual workshops almost every day on different aspects of teaching online, as well as individual help available from the Help Desk, and the provost has held a weekly Zoom meeting every Friday for faculty to keep them informed about what’s going on and alerting them to new resources as they become available,” Carlson said.

Many professors have had to explore new teaching strategies for online classes and are aware of the big change, according to Katherine Carnicelli, from the Social Work Department.

“When teaching online you cannot look at the group all at once in the same way,” Carnicelli said. “However, I have found that the Zoom classes have allowed students to participate more. I do feel as though the prep for the class is a little more intensive online and feels to be more scripted to me.”

Other professors feel that they have had to find new ways to implement the teaching strategies they already had.

“…It wasn’t so much about learning new ones as about adapting ones I already have,” said Carnicelli. “For example, I like classroom discussion in response to lecture material, but with online teaching, I’m finding it easier to pre-record lectures and then have discussions online once the students have had a chance to watch what I send them.”

Online classes have been adjustment for faculty and students alike, but it’s important that students have the opportunity to continue their education during this difficult, uncertain time.