Students rise to the occasion amidst online courses

Professors sing nothing but praise for their students as online courses continue for the 2020 spring semester. 

With the campus shutdown and the transition to online courses, Calvin students and professors have entered uncharted territory. Courses designed to be taught in a classroom have had to switch with barely a moment’s notice to a completely different platform. English professor Jane Zwart explained that going online makes holding students accountable more difficult, but many of them are stepping up to the challenge and staying on top of their work. Similar sentiments are held by accounting professor Julie Voskuil and philosophy professor Kevin Timpe.

Voskuil praised her intermediate accounting class for their strong attendance and preparedness for class four days a week. Zwart shared in the positive feedback by saying, “On the whole, my students have done such impressive work over these last hard weeks. I’ve been so grateful not only for the extent of their diligence… but for their ongoing investment in the questions and ideas I’ve asked them to engage.”  

Not only do professors agree that their students are stepping up and making the most out of the online courses, but they also pointed out that any students who appear to be performing at a lower quality are doing so because of circumstantial issues, such as bad internet connections or time zone changes. Timpe works with these challenges by being flexible and understanding. He also added to statements of Voskuil and Zwart by explaining how well his students’ discussion boards have been tackling tough and sensitive issues like racism. Timpe said, “There’s a stereotype when you’re online that it’s easier to say things… and I’ve been really pleased with the discussion on race… it has been really good and even better than some past in-classroom discussions.” 

Despite the uncharted ground students and faculty find themselves in, students are still pushing themselves to learn as much as they can and contribute to classes despite not physically being there.