- Title: As coronavirus spreads, U.S. universities ditch class for online
- Date: 13th March 2020
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) GREG NIEMEYER, PROFESSOR OF MEDIA INNOVATION AT UC BERKELEY, SAYING: "So collaboration means working together in groups and it often requires working online anyway. So here we have an opportunity, a teachable moment. Or we can say, OK, you learned how to collaborate in a room, but now we're going to ask you to collaborate online. And I'm sure that this lesson will be useful for the students future careers because they they'll be more or more more than not more because they'll be very likely to be working online together in various ways. And if they have little techniques for making that work, well, like certain exercises to build trust, certain exercises to create synchronicity, that's gonna be very good for them." VARIOUS OF DELANEY MARCHANT, JUNIOR TRANSFER AND TECHNICAL THEATRE AND DESIGN MAJOR AT UC BERKELEY, IN HER DORM ROOM SIGN ON DOOR THAT READS "DELANEY" VARIOUS OF DELANEY MARCHANT ON COMPUTER DURING ONLINE CLASS DELANEY MARCHANT DURING INTERVIEW (SOUNDBITE) (English) DELANEY MARCHANT, JUNIOR TRANSFER AND TECHNICAL THEATRE AND DESIGN MAJOR AT UC BERKELEY, SAYING: "It's been an interesting process converting to online. I always love to give the professors the benefit of the doubt because there's a lot of frustration coming from the student end. But I also know that there is just as much frustration coming from the professor, and especially because the school pretty much gave professors about 48 hours to convert to online formatting. And I've taken a lot of online classes that have been successful. But when you take classes that are not meant to be format formatted online or we're not prior form mattered online and then giving 48 hours to do so, it can be very challenging." PLANT DECORATION IN DORM ROOM PAN FROM DECORATION TO MARCHANT IN CHAIR AT DESK VARIOUS OF SCREEN SHOWING OTHER MEMBERS OF ONLINE CLASS VIA ZOOM (SOUNDBITE) (English) DELANEY MARCHANT, JUNIOR TRANSFER AND TECHNICAL THEATRE AND DESIGN MAJOR AT UC BERKELEY, SAYING: "I'm not necessarily worried about falling behind, but I think it's stressful to have a lot of unanswered questions and the sense of will I still get the units I need for the credits I need. And even if I do get the credits for that class, did I learn the information I need to go ahead to the next level of a course?" VARIOUS OF DELANEY MARCHANT AT DESK FLOWERS NEXT TO DESK
- Keywords: UC UC Berkeley coronavirus news coronavirus on campus online class discussion online classes pandemic public health universities adapt to the coronavirus
- Reuters ID: LVA005C4VX64N
- Location: BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- City: BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Duration: 00:02:58
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: With the rapid spread of coronavirus in the U.S., universities across the country have been forced to ditch in-person classes and send their students online.
At the University of California, Berkeley, media innovation professor Greg Niemeyer took full advantage of the school's decision to suspend most in-person courses and push for "alternative modalities," most commonly through video conferencing software Zoom, amid the pandemic.
"This coronavirus situation gives us a great object lesson where we can say, well, how are we going to design for survival under these new circumstances? And online teaching is an exact response to the problem. And we get to innovate with our teaching how to respond to the crisis. And so our course itself is becoming a way of designing for survival," said Niemeyer, who is co-teaching a course called "Collaborative Innovation" with professors from the business and theater schools.
With UC Berkeley going online, foot traffic across campus has slowed. One student estimated that as many as 60 percent of the student body had opted to leave, taking their books and laptops home with them to complete their studies remotely.
The COVID-19 respiratory disease has now infected almost 135,000 and killed more than 4,900 worldwide.
Although there are seven confirmed positive cases of coronavirus in Alameda County, UC Berkeley reported there were no confirmed cases on campus.
Regardless of Berkeley's case status, Niemeyer sees the online push as an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to learn how to collaborate and how to adapt to different circumstances.
UC is far from the only university to go online. San Francisco State University suspended face-to-face courses and ordered its faculty and staff to transition to remote instruction, effective March 16. Harvard University has also ordered all of its graduate and undergraduate classes to transition to online instruction by March 23.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, "all of Utah's public and private universities will shut down their campuses and move most classes online."
Back in Berkeley, junior Delaney Marchant said the transition to online for her classes has been interesting.
"I've taken a lot of online classes that have been successful. But when you take classes that are not meant to be format formatted online or we're not prior form mattered online and then giving 48 hours to do so, it can be very challenging," said the junior technical theater major.
In addition to taking Niemeyer's Collaborative Innovation course, Marchant is also enrolled in classes in performance literature, costume design, and stage management. With costume design transitioning to online, Marchant said she was getting less hands on experience than she would have liked.
She added that the experience serves as a reminder of the value of in-class learning. "I know that online courses have been very helpful for people. However, it's just a testament to how important being in a classroom is in having that face-to-face communication with professors and other students. It's what creates passion and interest on the topics you're learning."
(Production: Nathan Frandino)
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