Online shift poses logistical hurdles for various campus constituencies

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wichita State has canceled all in-person classes next week and plans to convert all classes to online-only for at least two weeks after spring break. 

The policy is across the board, requiring all classes to be moved online. That includes public speaking, studio art, and music.

“I am in a ceramics class, which is a studio class,” WSU student Quinn Rohodes said. “So that’s not going to be convenient considering you have to come to campus and use the equipment and use that facility. I think particularly for music students, it’s going to be hard. I also have voice lessons, and there’s really no way you can have an accompanist that works online.”

Elliott School of Communication graduate teaching assistants, both masters students and public speaking instructors, say the online shift will be a challenging one.

“I think the class will be a little bit less effective,” Elliott School GTA Leeah Webb said. “Practicing speaking without an audience isn’t as effective. It will give them the experience of preparing a speech and delivering, it but that won’t help with the actual speech anxiety.”

Teaching online presents logistical obstacles for instructors as well. 

“Until we’re given guidelines that we need to follow, I’m not sure what we’ll need to do,” Webb said. “But I think that there are a lot of tools and I feel comfortable that the basic course directors will support us.”

Other GTA’s are waiting for instructions from superiors as well.

“I don’t have a plan. My plan is just doing what I’m told,” Elliott School GTA Paul Myers said. 

Like their undergraduate counterparts, especially those in the arts, GTAs are uncertain about their potential experience as an online student. 

“It’s a little bit nerve wracking to be expected to learn all this stuff online,” Webb said. “But just as an instructor, I feel that we have a lot of support from our professors that are instructing us. Whether it’s through email or blackboard, I feel comfortable that they’ll do what they can to help us in the learning experience.”