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Students and faculty prepare for adjustment to in-person classes

Scheduling for the fall semester opened to some students on Wednesday, April 7, and professors and students alike have begun planning for the switch to mostly in-person classes.

Miami University released a statement on March 4, saying it planned to offer most classes for the fall semester in-person and did not envision providing students with a fully remote option.  

Students across academic divisions reported having a number of different problems scheduling last fall for the spring semester, including a delay in the release of the course list and classes switching format after registration had closed. 

Amelia Frueh, a first-year human capital management and leadership studies major, has never had an in-person class at Miami.

“It’ll definitely be weird, adjusting to having all my classes in person,” Frueh said. “Since I got to college, all of my classes have been online, so it’s the only college experience that I have. It’s all that I know.”

The Farmer School of Business has committed to holding most of its classes next fall in person, with only a select few courses held online at the professor’s request. Most of the online classes are large, entry-level courses that typically see higher numbers of students.

“Honestly, having all online classes was kind of nice,” Frueh said. “Most of my classes this year were larger ones, where we weren’t really talking to our professors much anyways. If anything, I’d say it was more convenient for us and for the professors.”

While Frueh made her remote schedule work for her classes this year, she is glad to finally be getting back into the classroom.

“I haven’t been in an [in-person] class since high school,” Frueh said. “And I feel like, especially as your classes get more advanced, there’s more to be gained from being in the room with your professor. I’m looking forward to having a more normal schedule next year.”

While students look forward to returning to a normal class schedule, some professors are still wary of the dangers in-person classes may hold. 

Todd Stuart, the director of arts management and entrepreneurship in the college of creative arts, plans to move his courses from in-person to remote if necessary.

“We believe that we’re going to be face-to-face, but we also know that we can’t predict the future,” Stuart said. “I’ve been very vocal about the fact that we are still in a pandemic and will likely be in a pandemic next fall. I think there’s just so much that we can’t plan for.”

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Though Stuart understands that many of the classes in the college of creative arts can’t effectively be held remotely, he is not willing to compromise student and faculty safety for education.

“I do think it’s better for students to learn face-to-face,” Stuart said. “And I understand that it’s frustrating to take classes online. But I will not risk my health, or students’ health, by promoting a modality of education that I don’t think is safe.”

Though professors do have the right to change their class format to accommodate personal and student needs, changing classes after students have signed up for the class can impact the rest of their schedule.

Sam Warnecke, a first-year political science major who had two of his courses for the spring semester switch format after scheduling, hopes the university will learn from its mistakes last semester.

“A lot of students were really pissed about the way things shook out last semester,” Warnecke said. “When you register for a class as a certain format, that’s how you’re expecting the class to be delivered. So to then go and change that is really frustrating.”

Warnecke completed his scheduling for the fall on April 7. As of right now, his classes are to be completely in person.

“I hope my schedule stays the way it is now, but I can’t say I’d be surprised if it changes,” Warnecke said. “They did it before, so who’s to say it won’t happen again?”