This semester, the Rhodes student body had to leave its beautiful Collegiate Gothic campus and adjust to convening on screens. Several different platforms have been employed to connect students and professors, including Zoom, Slack, VoiceThread, and email chains. Students upload assignments via Moodle, Box, and email, as well as access online databases for the varying research papers due at the end of the semester.
“After three weeks of remote classes, I realized how special learning at school really is,” says Griffin Laird ’22, a double chemistry and Spanish major from Jackson, TN. “We’ve lost the physical interaction of learning, but our professors have been beyond understanding and accommodating during this time.”
Laird says he stays in the same room for all of his classes and has developed a daily routine, which includes school work and spending time with his family.
Art history major Marlo Morales ’22 admits her transition from Rhodes back to her home in Florida was challenging. “My parents didn’t understand that class is class, and that I couldn’t just leave my laptop,” she says. “Rhodes and institutions across the country are all doing their best to simulate the classroom experience, but it’s not the same. But with social distancing and everyone scattered across the country, I think Zoom is the best we can do for right now.”
Isaac Segura ’21, a political science major with interests in law, acknowledges the good and the bad of remote learning. He says sometimes it feels like one long day, spending time at a desk for hours. “It’s super hard, but everyone’s in the same boat. The way I look at it, it’s a forced reset. When we’re at school, we feel like things are moving a million miles an hour while trying to complete assignments and hang out with friends and have a social life. Now, we’re at home with all this time to ourselves. This is a good time for a student to practice self-love and see what they can do better.”
Segura does feel like Rhodes professors have done a really outstanding job trying to communicate with students using Zoom. “It’s a positive thing to see how professors interact with their students, even when they can’t see them in person.”
For reflections from professors on how they are reaching out to students and helping them make the transition to remote learning, read Rhodes’ Remote-But Close series.
By Meg Jerit ’20