College Students’ Sentiments about Suspension of In-Person Classes for Winter Quarter

Students’ reactions to university administrators suspending classes through the end of winter quarter at Seattle University and Stanford University range from frustration to mixed emotions. CMC contacted several former clients who now attend the two universities to understand more about the unfolding situation along the West Coast. While some students acknowledge university administrators’ caution in suspending in-person classes, yet are annoyed by the disruption to their everyday activities, others were angry that they’ve paid tuition for a certain quality of education which is temporarily unavailable. 

A second year student at Seattle University, believes the university is overreacting in panic to COVID-19 by suspending classes. However, he also admitted that he and his friends are a minority on campus. He worried that without in-person classes, he will miss “vital knowledge” which can then affect his graduate school admissions in a few years. He’s most concerned about his understanding of the curriculum, since several of his courses are senior and graduate level science courses, which include sophisticated concepts to learn. 

A Seattle University third year student understood university administrators acted in the best interests of the community, while also was concerned about the logistics of recording a group presentation virtually to “present” to class, plus worried their grade will decrease if the quality of the presentation suffered, given their inexperience using online course formats. The student was also frustrated that rehearsals for an upcoming theatre production have been cancelled. 

Questions about the value of online education vs. in-person learning for the tuition that’s being paid (or already been paid) are also being asked. The second year Seattle University student expressed concerns that a lack of interaction with other students and the professor would affect their understanding. And, a first year Stanford University student, who’s now finishing his winter quarter coursework at home, shared that friends who were counting on working with professors during office hours and through other tutorials to prepare for final exams in a few weeks, are now concerned about their grades as they’re unsure how to access help with in-person interactions now suspended. 

As COVID-19 continues evolving, where the unknowns about how to continue educating students are greater than the knowns, students and parents can learn from the experiences of these first students and universities, where parts of regular university operations are suspended, while creating a continuity of instruction for students. They can benefit from understanding the complex issues university administrators are balancing to keep their institutions functioning, so they can know how to plan for the potential disruption to education if their own campuses suspend or cancel in-person courses. 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
View all posts by Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy →