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UNR Community's Response To Online Classes

Front exterior of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Lucia Starbuck
UNR students and faculty are working to adjust to online work.

There are 21,000 students enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno, and all of their courses have been moved online. This transition to online coursework has resulted in some growing pains. KUNR’s Jayden Perez checked in with students and professors at UNR, to gauge their reactions to the changes at the university.

Matt Henderson is in his first year of postgraduate work at UNR. The medical engineering student used to rely on in-class lectures for help with the material, but when the university transitioned, he’s had to approach his work differently.

“I have been [almost] entirely relegated to working from the online materials and working from the lecture slides. That really takes away a lot of the important context and really key information, not only for what is being presented but for how to interpret it all,” said Henderson.

Henderson also said that he appreciated the work done by professors and staff in helping students adjust. However, he did take issue with some of the administration’s choices and how they handled their response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“I think that the administration still had a lot of things that they were playing catch up with. That not only did they not have a plan for the coronavirus, but they didn’t have any kind of plan for a university shutdown in any context,” said Henderson.

Junior journalism major Michelle Werdann was studying abroad at Maastricht University in the Netherlands this semester. She was surprised by how quickly the pandemic changed everything. Though she’s now back in Reno, she still has to work off of Maastricht’s time. 

“My other professor has kept the final exam and I actually have to be up at four in the morning to start that exam, because it’s due at seven,” said Werdann. “So four my time.”

As of now, classes at UNR are scheduled to remain online until the end of the first summer session on July 10. Some students have voiced concerns over that decision, but Associate Professor of Voice and Opera Albert Lee is seeing something different occur with his students.

“Several students have made some incredible breakthroughs in their own musical development and part of that is they have more time to actually process information,” said Lee.

In spite of the growth that Lee’s students are experiencing, the current situation poses problems involving music. Computer microphones have difficulty capturing the feel of a live performance and Lee has worked to keep things consistent.

“When you are trying to deal with music via Zoom, adjusting the settings and having quality microphones enhances the experience for both students and instructor alike. There are certainly some challenges, but classes have continued with as much normality as possible," said Lee.

Administration officials said they’re planning to reopen the campus by the second summer session, but that could change depending on the pandemic.

As a note of disclosure, the license to this station is owned by the Board of Regents for the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Jayden Perez is a junior studying at the Reynolds School of Journalism.

Jayden Perez is a former web producer and student reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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