Students Reflect on Hybrid Course Issues

By Kayla Lupedee

As we take on another semester amidst COVID-19, there are some aspects of college that we simply have to give up in order to continue safely. Not only does that include refraining from large social gatherings, but in-person classes are also being limited to low numbers. 

With that being said, it would be selfish to say class cohorts ultimately suck, since it is what we have to do to remain safe. However, it would be a flat-out lie if I said I don’t feel that way. Splitting into different class sections has brought me nothing other than an extra load of confusion and stress. 

What days do I go in again? Am I mixing up one class with another? Did I forget to check the online assignment folder? Why am I even paying for this?

It would be one thing if all my classes operated the same way. But, that is not the case. Some of my classes meet every other session, while others are completely on Zoom for one week and in person the following week. Even so, two of my courses don’t even use Zoom, leaving us to just work independently from home when we are not on campus.

The lack of consistency in my classes just results in confusion on when I am supposed to show up and what work I am supposed to be doing. Also, I am forced to watch recorded lectures, which are emailed to me late at night after my class had already ended. Within just the first two weeks of the semester, I already feel like I have extra work to be doing simply because of how classes are being run.

As someone who is in a major that has relatively small classes anyway, I don’t feel much of a difference from splitting into sections. However, for some students, these smaller groups are beneficial. 

“For discussion based classes, I actually love the cohorts because the smaller sizes just make it so much easier to feel comfortable and really speak freely,” said Mackenzie Sargolini, junior public health major. “It is also easier to seek out the help of a professor without running out of time or having too many people trying to speak at once.”

The University of Tampa is generally prided in its small size, as many students usually prefer being in smaller classes opposed to lecture halls of 500 students. Therefore, it does make sense that cohorts are favored for their size, but that doesn’t diminish the other side of things. 

“I feel more comfortable in the classroom because there are less students, but it is confusing to remember what days I have to go on campus and what days I don’t,” said Amanda Rivera, junior elementary education major. “It also feels like a waste of time because when I’m on Zoom, I tend to get easily distracted and end up not even remembering the material being taught.”

Being on the Zoom side of a lecture is probably one of the worst college experiences I have come across. When professors try to live teach in-person and on Zoom, there are several issues that I have tend to notice.

For instance, if one professor is teaching to half the class via Zoom and the other half in person, it can be assumed that several other professors are doing the same thing. Therefore, we are likely to stumble across connection issues. Sometimes the most I can do is just hope whatever my professor said wasn’t entirely important, considering I couldn’t hear it through the Wi-Fi glitch anyway. 

Also, it is nearly impossible to hear discussions from the other students who are actually physically present in class. I tend to just hear a question asked by my professor followed by radio-silence, and the next thing I know, we are moving on and I have no idea what just happened. 

Class cohorts aren’t just disliked by students, though. Some of my professors have even openly admitted to the high level of inconvenience that it is. Especially when it comes to UT’s newly implemented reading days, professors are facing troubles of keeping the class meetings and assignment dates in a fair manner. 

Some professors see no point in attempting Zoom meetings while also conducting in-person lessons. There is said to be a sense of awkwardness and a clear atmosphere of no one knowing what’s going on. 

Ultimately, class cohorts bring me less motivation and more anger about attending college during COVID-19. Since I’m home more than on campus, I drift more towards my bed than being productive and think about all the tuition money I’m wasting to sit inside my apartment. 

However, there are simply just some things we have to sacrifice in life and unfortunately, dealing with class cohorts is one of them.

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