KAIT BEDELL & ALEXANDRA WHITE
Advantages of asynchronous
Online classes have become continuously accessible for students during registration. As Lasell adapted to COVID-19 with the use of online, asynchronous, and hybrid courses, some courses still continue to be offered for students in untraditional ways; even as we enter the endemic stage.
Hybrid classes typically occur twice a week with one class being in person, and the other being online through Zoom, or taught asynchronously. Provost Eric Turner said these classes have become increasingly popular for students.
“Overall, there is a student demand for online or remote alternatives,” said Turner. “That's something that we've wanted to try to provide more of, to the extent that it is educationally appropriate to do it.”
Turner said the goal of continuing online learning is to provide accessible options for students and professors who may not be able to be in person on certain days. “I think we've got to continue to look at what's the best way for us to deliver the best quality experience for students in terms of providing teaching,” Turner said.
Dean of Student Success Michelle Niestepski also said she thinks online learning can help students learn in a new environment. While Niestepski said online classes help to eliminate any “anxiety” that comes with being in a classroom, she also thinks it improves the courses themselves.
“I think it’s benefited students in addition to really being able to connect and hire instructors all across the United States…” Niestepski said. “So I think it has been a benefit and I think faculty have done a great job of learning how to use Canvas.”
Niestepski said despite this style of learning, professors have been able to “flip the classroom” by getting students to lead online discussions.
Niestepski said the Deans of each school continue to assess how online learning may or may not improve the curriculum, and that it is something they will continue to discuss in the coming years.
Senior communications major Gianna Alviti believes hybrid classes can sometimes be inconvenient. “The hybrid classes are great, but depending on your professor and the course that you're taking, the hybrid class times can be severely inconvenient,” Alviti said.
Alviti said while these classes can be difficult to plan around, they are still beneficial for students. “For commuter students like me, or students who have to work while going to school, it offers them a range of flexibility in order to be financially stable, or essentially have more time to do schoolwork,” Alviti said.
Turner believes another benefit to hybrid classes is the flexibility it offers adjunct professors. “[Students] can have access to a professor, particularly an adjunct professor, who you might not be able to be available for in-person classes,” said Turner. “The fact that you can give them a hybrid alternative, or an online alternative means we can get really high-quality folks.”