By Madison Goodgame
The University of Alabama at Birmingham faculty and staff are working together to make sure that everyone gets through the semester safely and without problem, but according to UAB students, there are serious difficulties and shortcomings in some of UAB’s new policies and practices.
“What has troubled me, is that I have a zoom class early in the morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays but have an on-campus class that starts directly after that one ends on Thursdays. This puts me in the situation of having to drive all the way downtown hours before the class begins to make sure that I am there on time for attendance,” Crew Vlerebome said, a senior majoring in communications.
The UAB attendance policy states that “The University of Alabama at Birmingham recognizes that the academic success of individual students is related to their class attendance and participation. Each course instructor is responsible for establishing policies concerning class attendance and make-up opportunities.”
There are also online teaching resources for faculty to better approach hybrid learning/teaching methods. The website also states that “UAB and the University of Alabama System are planning a safe entry to campus this fall with hybrid learning – a course delivery system which, because of social distancing precautions, requires a combination of both in-person instruction and remote instruction.” On campus, the students are required to complete the COVID-19 Health check daily, and their risk level is automatically uploaded to the Guide Safe Event Passport system.
Savannah Zimmerman, a senior majoring in digital marketing, said that she does not prefer driving to campus for a class that she could have from home via Zoom or Canvas.
“Hybrid classes don’t seem too much harder but the hardest thing for me since the semester started is going to my attendance days through zoom. The material that we are learning isn’t really anything you have to be on campus for because it is power points so I do get more annoyed when I show up to class for something I could have done at home in a safe environment,” Zimmerman said.
Only a few professors are moving their classes entirely to Zoom. Most classes retain hybrid status, requiring students to come onto campus once a week.
“Online classes are not harder for me because Zoom alleviates a lot of in-class anxiety that I have when speaking out loud. I do not really like the hybrid classes, but my teachers have given us the option to strictly Zoom so that we feel safer,” Arabella Rubino, a senior majoring in English, said.
Taylor Baldwin, a senior majoring in communication management, said that she does not like having to show the health check passport because it has negatively affected her being able to go on campus at all.
“It does bother me that I have to show the Health check passport because I have done everything that I am supposed to do, got a negative test, and still am banned from campus with no email response for help. I also think the self-administered COVID test is extremely inaccurate,” Baldwin said.
Some students like Aspen Burgess, a senior majoring in marketing, believe UAB is doing what they can to make sure that the semester runs smoothly. “The stress of this semester is definitely harder than any other, but this is my last semester at UAB,” Burgess said, “And I have to do well to graduate so I will do whatever I need to do for compliance.”
Edited by Breeze Yancie, Diane Mwai, & John H. Glenn