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College Fall 2020 - Virtual or In-Person? What do you think?


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It would not be exaggerating to say that for some colleges a choice to go 100% online would set into motion financial consequences that could require the school to close within a couple years.  M

All universities want things to return to normal in the fall.  All of them are struggling with lost revenue.  But I don't believe any of them, regardless of stating they are opening on-campus in the f

I think many colleges are trying to protect their enrollments by announcing they plan on being in person in the fall. It is clear to them that graduating high schoolers do not want to start college on

We don't even know about summer classes, yet.  I have heard some talk of a delayed start to the semester, especially in parts of the country where universities start back as early as mid-August.  

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My son's college just now officially canceled ALL on-campus activities, classes, meetings and events for the summer. For students and staff. This included his on-campus enrollment/orientation that was to take place in late May, and the 3-day camp for incoming freshmen that was scheduled for late July. Enrollment and orientation will be done virtually now and the orientation portion will be significantly reduced.

I'm not holding my breath for fall. For now we (as a family) are hoping for classes to be in-person and dorms to open, but at the same time we're assuming that none of that will happen and classes will be online only. IMO, dorms are as bad as cruise ships in terms of spreading illness, maybe worse if there are only community bathrooms, which is what many of the freshmen at this school get stuck with. Also starting to think about applying for a gap year.

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2 hours ago, regentrude said:

Nobody knows. As of know, we are preparing for in seat classes AND developing contingency plans for online. Because...nobody knows

 

This is what I'm hearing from many colleges.  😞  I hate the uncertainty.

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The orientation for summer session was switched to virtual a couple weeks ago for my DD. At this point, I think there is a high likelihood that fall will also be online, because once the curve for this pandemic is flattened and stay at home orders are lifted, it just seems like the coronavirus will flare up again. How quickly can scientists come up with a solution to preventing COVID-19? Does the anti-malaria drug work to prevent coronavirus? There is a clinical trial going on to test that, which is great. I just saw this article recently posted talking about a possible virtual fall. https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2020/04/01/preparing-quietly-fall-semester-without-person-instruction

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Really hoping we can at least get labs and the like in-person, possibly with very small sections. 

Not holding my breath even for that. 

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20 minutes ago, kiana said:

Really hoping we can at least get labs and the like in-person, possibly with very small sections. 

Not holding my breath even for that. 

 

How would that work for students who aren't local?  We are OOS.  

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13 minutes ago, Kassia said:

How would that work for students who aren't local?  We are OOS.  

 

Sorry, I'm talking about my CC. I presume residential colleges would have a lot more to deal with as far as that goes, although they probably aren't also trying to train HVAC and welding. 

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1 hour ago, Kassia said:

This is what I'm hearing from many colleges.  😞  I hate the uncertainty.

we all do. I can promise, it's worst for the teachers. Alas, crystal ball's are in even shorter supply than toilet paper

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One of our senior students got an email saying  no housing, all classes online to start 2020-2021, until Covid crisis is over.  This was a UC campus.  I don't have a lot of details...

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1 hour ago, BookwormTo2 said:

The orientation for summer session was switched to virtual a couple weeks ago for my DD. At this point, I think there is a high likelihood that fall will also be online, because once the curve for this pandemic is flattened and stay at home orders are lifted, it just seems like the coronavirus will flare up again. I just saw this article recently posted talking about a possible virtual fall. https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2020/04/01/preparing-quietly-fall-semester-without-person-instruction

 

Interesting article with some issues I hadn't thought of.  My dd's orientation was also switched to virtual even though it wasn't scheduled until August.  

 

20 minutes ago, kiana said:

 

Sorry, I'm talking about my CC. I presume residential colleges would have a lot more to deal with as far as that goes, although they probably aren't also trying to train HVAC and welding. 

 

My dd attends a CC for DE and I was wondering how they handle classes like welding or anything else that has to be hands-on.  

 

 

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14 minutes ago, readinmom said:

One of our senior students got an email saying  no housing, all classes online to start 2020-2021, until Covid crisis is over.  This was a UC campus.  I don't have a lot of details...

interesting, which UC? my ds got into a handful of them - haven't heard anything from any of them as of yet... maybe he should check his email.

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1 hour ago, Kassia said:

My dd attends a CC for DE and I was wondering how they handle classes like welding or anything else that has to be hands-on.  

Some classes have been switched to more of an appreciation class. 

Some classes have just gotten mandatory incompletes and they'll make it up when able. 😞 

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Hard to do athletics on-line. Colleges will still be on the hook for scholarships.

On-line classes are not as good as in-person instruction for many, many disciplines.  I personally would never, ever, pay OOS tutition for online classes.

If kids can go back to school, colleges can re=open. Maybe not in dorms- but certainly have classes.

 

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I thought this was a good article.  https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-sector/our-insights/coronavirus-how-should-us-higher-education-plan-for-an-uncertain-future

Dd is taking DE classes and most professors have done really well with the sudden switch to online, but one seems to have just dropped the class - very little communication and no teaching.  

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In person, I dearly hope.  Texas A&M Corpus Christi has moved spring graduation to early August and also their ring ceremony.  Thus far, knock on wood, south Texas numbers are pretty low.  We are on stay at home orders through the end of April.  The first summer session will be online, and they will decide on the second summer session by mid-May.

Hoping everything here is mostly back to normal by fall. 

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2 hours ago, Kassia said:

one seems to have just dropped the class - very little communication and no teaching.  

 

That is really frustrating and I honestly would contact the chair if the instructor is not replying to emails. Our chair is in pretty continual contact with us and asking us to mentor faculty with no experience using the LMS. Heck, I raced through prepping my second-half course to let two other faculty copy it because they have NO experience using online homework software and I've put a hell of a lot of effort into getting good videos in. 

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48 minutes ago, kiana said:

 

That is really frustrating and I honestly would contact the chair if the instructor is not replying to emails. Our chair is in pretty continual contact with us and asking us to mentor faculty with no experience using the LMS. Heck, I raced through prepping my second-half course to let two other faculty copy it because they have NO experience using online homework software and I've put a hell of a lot of effort into getting good videos in. 

 

I can't even imagine how much work this must be to make the quick switch!  

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3 hours ago, MysteryJen said:

Hard to do athletics on-line. Colleges will still be on the hook for scholarships.

On-line classes are not as good as in-person instruction for many, many disciplines.  I personally would never, ever, pay OOS tutition for online classes.

If kids can go back to school, colleges can re=open. Maybe not in dorms- but certainly have classes.

 

 

The problem is some of our kids already have 1/2 their credits at an OOS school. They also have scholarships. Those of us in rural places may not have local school options. 

 

My son was planning on getting a place off campus with two friends this summer for next year (before this happened). For us, even if it's online it would be better for him to leave the state. Housing is dramatically cheaper where he is going and he can work (if he can find an essential job) without worrying that he will infect his mother who currently only has use of 3/4 of her lungs in her "healthy" state despite having young children to finish raising.

One of his potential room mates was international though but my guess is he just won't be going home in the summer but don't know that for sure. 

 

I think it is just hard for anyone to plan under the current circumstances. We all get to learn to fly by the seat of our pants I suppose.

 

 

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I teach at a fairly traditional, private university; about 90-95% of our student body is undergraduate and many are from out of state.  A survey of students (sample size about 15% of students) showed that just under 2/3 of the students returned home.  4% remained on campus and 28% remained in the vicinity of the campus (and 3% went to a friend's or some other arrangement).  Many of our juniors and seniors rent apartments or houses near the campus.  Some have jobs in the area; some have pets they couldn't easily take home.  Some didn't want to travel only to need to come back and move out of an apartment when their lease is up over the summer; they viewed travel as risky and uncertain.  Some found their current surroundings more conducive to doing school work and less risk (or put other family members at less risk) than returning home.  

I think my university will do everything it possibly can to have at least some on-campus options for the fall, perhaps not opening dorms with community baths and limiting class sizes 

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3 hours ago, Bootsie said:

I think my university will do everything it possibly can to have at least some on-campus options for the fall, perhaps not opening dorms with community baths and limiting class sizes 

interesting on the bolded. Do you know how are they planning to do that? Just lower the caps and limit class access? Cause nobody has money to hire additional instructors to keep class sizes small

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53 minutes ago, regentrude said:

interesting on the bolded. Do you know how are they planning to do that? Just lower the caps and limit class access? Cause nobody has money to hire additional instructors to keep class sizes small

We are mostly talking about this for lab courses and fine arts courses. We have discussed both limited access and scheduling some labs (sciences, mostly, but also classes like ceramics) that would normally meet weekly to meet every-other-week with virtual labs in between. This is of course far inferior to a weekly lab, but at least they will get some experience in procedures, and the virtual labs would be heavy on data analysis and lab report writing. It is more work for the instructor, but the same amount of grading at least -- every 2 weeks they would get 24 lab reports from the virtual lab and 24 lab reports from the in-person lab, just a bit more staggered. 

I could also see this for universities with large lectures -- keeping a 500 person lecture online makes perfect sense and the difference in quality between in-person and online instruction is nowhere near as large. 

I am proposing something similar for my college where if we can reopen SOMETHING but aren't ready to go back to fulltime, the developmental math classes run somewhat asynchronously but are hybrid classes with weekly meetings for problem-solving and groupwork and making sure they're writing out work properly. The instruction would still be online so if it flared up again it would be easy to move back to fully online, but basically I'd have 24 students enrolled, 12 of them in section 001A (meets monday) and 12 in section 001B (meets wednesday). This would probably actually be a net decrease in workload for me once the initial planning was set up. 

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2 hours ago, Lanny said:

In the news this morning (08 April 2020) Dr. Fauci indicates that he believes it is quite possible they will be able to return to in-person classes in the Fall of 2020. Fingers crossed that will be the case. Here's the link:  

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/fauci-says-u-s-should-be-able-to-head-back-to-school-in-fall

I am tremendously pleased to see Dr. Fauci is hopeful. 

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1 hour ago, regentrude said:

interesting on the bolded. Do you know how are they planning to do that? Just lower the caps and limit class access? Cause nobody has money to hire additional instructors to keep class sizes small

I think at this point the administration may be more concerned about whether there will be enough students to fill the classes.  I think there may be some both/and approaches to having some sections online and other sections (with capped enrollment) meet in person.  Or perhaps, classes meet in person once a week and online the remainder of the time so that only the largest classrooms on campus are used.  

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41 minutes ago, kiana said:

I am tremendously pleased to see Dr. Fauci is hopeful. 

 

Me too. He is cautiously optimistic. He is also always willing to mention that he doesn't have a "Crystal Ball".  Fingers crossed and praying...

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My university just announced that all summer classes will be online.  We had a number of students who would have been participating in study abroad or other experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, which means a lot of the course offerings are having to be rethought.

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Well, we had an interesting turn of events yesterday. Dd received a call from her apt complex. They had been audited and apparently multiple residents had not signed the correct paperwork for lease renewal. She was amg those residents. So, she has no binding lease for the fall. All of her fall classes were already 100% online classes with the exception of 1 that had a 50-50 option or a 100% online option (these are grad MLIS classes). After talking to her roommates, she decided not to sign the new paperwork. She didn't tell us her decision until after she made it.

I started to cry. This definitely not what I want for her sr yr. I think with her underlying health issues that it probably the right decision, but it doesnt mean it is an easy one to like.  Hopefully life returns to normal by spring and kids will be studying abroad and she goes back into someone's sublet for last semester.

The positive side is that the $$ she is saving on housing will be directly available for her grad  yr.

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@8FillTheHeart I agree! Hoping and praying life is back to normal by spring (sooner would be better). With DD's summer session being 100% online, she pointed out we are saving money on room and board. We have to appreciate the positives in this world we are in with the pandemic wreaking havoc on "normal life." It seems to me you have raised a very sensible and smart DD who decided not to sign her lease renewal -- kudos to you!  

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I don’t know and of course hope there’s in person classes, but I’m feeling fairly certain there will be no or few international students. I think restrictions on travel would be the last ones lifted (whaa for me 😂). As a data point to add to this speculation of mine, a local liberal arts college reopened their admissions while offering a regional scholarship, available to students in a handful of the counties near it. 

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6 hours ago, Bootsie said:

My university just announced that all summer classes will be online.  We had a number of students who would have been participating in study abroad or other experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, which means a lot of the course offerings are having to be rethought.

 

International travel during Summer 2020 is IMO, potentially extremely troublesome. DD is "Sheltering in Place" in her dorm at UNC. We live in Colombia and the airports here are closed to International flights arriving or departing until at least on or about 23 April.  This week the government extended the "Shelter in Place" (like house arrest) for everyone, from 13 April to 27 April. For those of us over 70, we are confined to our houses, until June 1st, for our protection, which I appreciate, although I miss going out to shop and to pay bills.. Bottom line is that these regulations are subject to change, WITHOUT notice. And, also, there are restrictions on who can arrive in Colombia. Only Colombian citizens who live here and Aliens who live here legally. And then, a quarantine,  probably for 14 days would be required here and I hope in most countries.    

We are not sure whether or not DD will be able to come here for the Summer and she has approximately 30 days until "Move Out" day from her dorm.

So many people have had their plans disrupted this year. I am thankful for DD, that if this happened, it happened in her Freshman year and that there are 3 years for the economy and job market to be in recovery mode before she graduates and needs a full-time job.

Her roommate is an International student and I hope she will not return to her Passport country, because if she does, she might not be able to return to the USA for the Fall semester.

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My students absolutely despise online learning, so we will have to rethink gap years if they are cancelling in person classes.  My kids don't perform as well in online classes and we can not risk them losing the state scholarship.  I do not know what they would do though.  There's really going to be nowhere to go.  

Fortunately, their college is going ahead with on campus orientation in July and we hope they will have the college up and running.  

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On 4/6/2020 at 8:59 PM, readinmom said:

One of our senior students got an email saying  no housing, all classes online to start 2020-2021, until Covid crisis is over.  This was a UC campus.  I don't have a lot of details...

 

It's too early for them to be issuing decisions like this, imo. Why can't they just chill out and wait a bit?

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Some accrediting agencies have special requirements for instruction in online courses.  And there are regulations if the online courses extend to student's beyond the university's state borders.  The main accrediting agency for my university gave an exemption to finish this semester.  However, that exemption does not carry over to summer and fall classes.  For any classes this summer, faculty have to undergo a certification process and design their syllabi to meet certain requirements.  Just to get those who were going to teach this summer is going to be difficult.  Trying to get all classes to meet this requirements by the fall is going to be especially tricky.  Especially for people who teach a class or two on an adjunct basis (and are already way underpaid for the work they put in), just are not going to put in this extra work.  The ability to be up and running totally online for fall may be tricky for some universities. 

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We have gotten indications that our state flagship will be having some in person classes in the fall but campus life will not be a return to normal. I don't know exactly what this means but it was put in context of having classes but not necessarily sports and other large gatherings. 

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On 4/9/2020 at 4:10 PM, Mom0012 said:

It's too early for them to be issuing decisions like this, imo. Why can't they just chill out and wait a bit?

Because colleges need to prepare if they want to offer GOOD online instruction that is comparable in quality to in seat. Let's face it, what is happening now is not quality online instruction - just like what parents are doing who suddenly have their kids home and are working form home is crisis schooling, not homeschooling. We do the best we can, and my students are quite happy with my classes, but I would never have structured my courses the way I did, had I designed them for online delivery from the get go.

For example, right now, we are working on developing a version for physics labs for online instruction  for summer and perhaps fall (the resources we are inundated with by the publishers are sub par and barely high school level,). This takes time

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Boston University announced, basically, a plan for a plan.  An excerpt:

"The Recovery Plan recognizes the possibility that the beginning of the fall term may have to be delayed, and that a January reopening may be necessary, in which case summer 2021 academics would replace those now planned for fall 2020. It also accepts the possibility that international  students are likely to face unique burdens, such as travel restrictions and interruptions in the processing of visas, and it suggests that some popular master’s programs may have to be offered remotely."

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18 hours ago, JennyD said:

Boston University announced, basically, a plan for a plan.  An excerpt:

"The Recovery Plan recognizes the possibility that the beginning of the fall term may have to be delayed, and that a January reopening may be necessary, in which case summer 2021 academics would replace those now planned for fall 2020. It also accepts the possibility that international  students are likely to face unique burdens, such as travel restrictions and interruptions in the processing of visas, and it suggests that some popular master’s programs may have to be offered remotely."

This is a far more appealing plan to me.

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I thought the wording on Boston University's announcement was confusing. Some students posted comments under the announcement which indicated they were confused about when classes would begin. Does it mean online classes might begin in January but physical classes won't start until Summer 2021? Or does it mean there may not be any classes this fall at BU and fall semester will be pushed off to January? 

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On 4/13/2020 at 10:05 AM, BookwormTo2 said:

I thought the wording on Boston University's announcement was confusing. Some students posted comments under the announcement which indicated they were confused about when classes would begin. Does it mean online classes might begin in January but physical classes won't start until Summer 2021? Or does it mean there may not be any classes this fall at BU and fall semester will be pushed off to January? 

I read it as rather than move to online classes in the fall, they would wait until January to begin in-person classes. But I could be wrong, of course. I often am.🙂

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On 4/10/2020 at 5:19 PM, regentrude said:

Because colleges need to prepare if they want to offer GOOD online instruction that is comparable in quality to in seat. Let's face it, what is happening now is not quality online instruction - just like what parents are doing who suddenly have their kids home and are working form home is crisis schooling, not homeschooling. We do the best we can, and my students are quite happy with my classes, but I would never have structured my courses the way I did, had I designed them for online delivery from the get go.

For example, right now, we are working on developing a version for physics labs for online instruction  for summer and perhaps fall (the resources we are inundated with by the publishers are sub par and barely high school level,). This takes time


Frankly, I’m highly doubtful that GOOD online classes will be offered by most schools no matter how much time they have to prepare.  My kids have participated in many and the good ones have been far and few between. So, before tanking kids’ education for another semester, they could at least wait until the end of April or May to make a decision for September.. Shouldn’t 3 or 4 months be enough time to prepare for a semester-long class? Thankfully, most colleges aren’t jumping on this bandwagon yet.

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58 minutes ago, Mom0012 said:

Frankly, I’m highly doubtful that GOOD online classes will be offered by most schools no matter how much time they have to prepare.  My kids have participated in many and the good ones have been far and few between. So, before tanking kids’ education for another semester, they could at least wait until the end of April or May to make a decision for September.. Shouldn’t 3 or 4 months be enough time to prepare for a semester-long class? Thankfully, most colleges aren’t jumping on this bandwagon yet.

I am sorry your kids' experiences haven't been good. I know many of my colleagues are working their butts off to give the students an education that is not "tanking". 
I do not know how much experience you have with online class design. I can tell you that preparing online classes is incredibly time consuming. In my experience, it takes about ten hours of work to produce one hour of good video. And that's when you already know the content. Developing a lab class or preparing a class you have never taught? Way, way more. Btw, colleges also have to make personnel decisions that take time. 

 

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On 4/12/2020 at 1:43 PM, JennyD said:

Boston University announced, basically, a plan for a plan.  An excerpt:

"The Recovery Plan recognizes the possibility that the beginning of the fall term may have to be delayed, and that a January reopening may be necessary, in which case summer 2021 academics would replace those now planned for fall 2020. It also accepts the possibility that international  students are likely to face unique burdens, such as travel restrictions and interruptions in the processing of visas, and it suggests that some popular master’s programs may have to be offered remotely."

 

I would read this as 'we may not be able to open in the fall, in which case we'll open in January for the usual term that begins in January and we'll do the classes we had planned in the fall during the coming summer (summer '21)'  I can see why that makes some sense, but what about classes that are a sequence, where you need the first term to be able to take or understand the 2nd?  You can't just flip those around and do them in the reverse order.

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2 minutes ago, regentrude said:

I am sorry your kids' experiences haven't been good. I know many of my colleagues are working their butts off to give the students an education that is not "tanking". 
I do not know how much experience you have with online class design. I can tell you that preparing online classes is incredibly time consuming. In my experience, it takes about ten hours of work to produce one hour of good video. And that's when you already know the content. Developing a lab class or preparing a class you have never taught? Way, way more. Btw, colleges also have to make personnel decisions that take time. 

Video?  What is this video you speak of?  All three of my kids' online classes are either asynchronous with assignments/readings online, or live Zoom classes (much better).  No prepared videos (although honestly I still prefer live over video).  One dd reports that some of her classes have recordings of the live classes available to watch after, but not all.

I can't even imagine how lab classes are handled.  None of my kids have lab classes this semester (well, my CompSci kid might have 'computer lab', but that's a whole different kettle of fish than a hands-on lab).

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51 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

 

I can't even imagine how lab classes are handled.  

 

My dd is taking physics and hasn't had a lab since this started.  She used to have 1-2/week.  I feel bad for her professor because he teaches many different classes so this has to be an enormous amount of work, but he hasn't provided much of anything for the class since the switch from on-campus to online.  He said labs would be videos of him performing them or ones online, but there haven't been any yet.  

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