Elmhurst University students and educators have dealt with significant changes in their learning and teaching experiences due to a largely virtual fall term.
“Everything is different this year,” said Christiana Ninan, a senior majoring in elementary education.
According to Ninan, EU's education department offers a student teaching program for seniors, where students are assigned to an elementary school. Students are required to complete between 100-120 hours before the student teaching program ends.
However, for Ninan, her time spent as a teacher in the classroom has been significantly reduced because students are now being taught virtually.
“I am supposed to attend the student teaching program from Monday to Friday, but I only go there three times instead,” she explained.
The pandemic also impacted Ninan’s plans to teach abroad after graduating. Though she was looking forward to teaching in Egypt, Ninan has opted to instruct her students remotely for the time being.
Phuong Dang, an international student from Vietnam, was given only 3 days to book an airplane ticket and return home in March.
Dang now has to take classes online while in Vietnam, regardless of the 13-hour time difference.
“I have to stay up late for classes,” Dang said. “It’s a whole new challenge that I have to overcome.”
Dang added that “going to classes [in person] is definitely more effective.”
After graduation, Dang planned on pursuing a green card while working in the United States. Now, Dang will continue his postgraduate education remotely in Vietnam.
“I hope everything gets better soon so I can come back to school,” Dang said.
Sophomore Riley Deahl also shared her experience as a commuter student during the pandemic.
“I am barely able to be on-campus because all the classes turn online,” Deahl said. “It’s not exactly the ideal college experience at all.”
Deahl noted that attending classes virtually has eliminated the hands-on experience she requires as an elementary education major.
“I was supposed to come to an elementary school to observe for one of my class’s projects, but we had to watch a Youtube video instead,” stated Deahl.
For the upcoming spring term, Elmhurst University plans to continue with classes completely online, or through a hybrid method.