Online classes pose challenges for professors as well as students


Simmons University’s official Zoom page.

Megan Purser, Staff Writer

The decision to move all graduate and undergraduate courses online at Simmons University due to the outbreak of COVID-19 has not only changed the livelihood of students, but for professors as well.

Though now classes are online-only, a great number of professors at Simmons have never taught online classes before. However this abrupt change did not stop Dr. Matthew Schwartz, an assistant professor in the biology department at Simmons, from trying to support his students across the globe. 

Despite difficulties like working full-time on top of caring for his newborn baby, Schwartz understands that everyone is going through hardships right now and changed the syllabus in all of his classes in order to help students with their transition online. Some of these changes include pre-recording lectures, creating practice problems to go over on Zoom meetings, and providing due dates that are flexible.

 “My students aren’t just students. They’re all people with jobs, families, and feelings, so I want to make this transition as smooth as possible. I’m just looking for the same understanding and patience in return,” Schwartz noted.

It’s a pedagogical approach that his students appreciate. “Dr. Schwartz has been the most understanding of all my professors. Other professors of mine are trying to overcompensate for the time that we missed by giving us more assignments. It gives me less motivation than I already have to complete them,”  said Faith Gray-Williams, a junior biology major on the pre-med track.

In the midst of a pandemic, Schwartz stressed the importance of treating everything and everyone with compassion and flexibility during these times. However, he has noticed a significant drop in participation from his students since they’ve moved online.

Because of situations like that, Dr. Abel Amado, assistant professor of political science and international relations at Simmons, says that communication between students and professors during these times need to be prioritized.

“Regardless of the situation, we need to focus on communication. We are all on the same team. Professors want your success. Sometimes we don’t always have all the information about what’s going on, so I ask that you tell me what’s going on. Once communicated, we can find a solution. I don’t want any student to feel excluded from that,” Amado stated.

Simmons University has yet to decide what the Fall semester will look like, but in an interview with Bloomberg Radio, President Helen Drinan noted a decision would be made no later than July 1.