Going back to in-person classes: A Q&A with Professor Stacey Donohue and student Madelyn Murnane

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Photo by Sarah Lightley

Sarah Lightley/The Broadside 

Talking with Stacey Donohue, an English teacher at COCC, who primarily teaches all online classes, about the in-person classes of Fall Term 2021. Professor Donohue provides a unique perspective of going back to in-person classes.

Stacey Donohue

Q: How are you feeling about going back to in-person classes? Why do you feel that way? 

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A: I have always taught courses online, so I’m fine with continuing that since it provides a service for students whose work/life schedules don’t allow for classes that meet at specific times and places.

A: However, I do miss the interaction with students, and the way that teaching in-person allows more flexibility and in-class discussion.

Q: Is there a couple of specific things that you are looking forward to? And why?

A: I’m looking forward to being in a real office again, talking with colleagues, and meeting with students in person, without the annoyance of zoom “freezing” in our conversations!

Q: Are you excited to teach in a classroom and not through a computer? Will you still have online classes to teach? 

A: Yes, I will continue to teach online as I did pre-pandemic, but will also add in-person classes at some point.

Q: How do you think you are going to balance both styles if you are planning to teach both in-person and online?  

A: Because I’ve always done this it’s not a problem for me; however, I am concerned that when we do return to in-person classes, we have to pivot back to online midstream again: that is much more challenging than starting online from day one.

Madelyn Murnane, a student at COCC, was asked similar questions concerning her feelings about the in-person classes for Fall Term 2021. 

Madelyn Murnane

Q: How are you feeling about going back to in-person classes? Why do you feel that way? 

A: It feels weird to go back to in-person since it is still very recent after the vaccine came out and college-age students only recently became eligible. To open schools that soon when most students don’t have the vaccine doesn’t seem right.

A: Moving forward I think things need to be slower in opening up until more of the population has the vaccine and if people aren’t going to get the vaccine, to encourage washing hands and wearing masks. 

Q: Is there a couple of specific things that you are looking forward to? And why?

A: I’m excited to actually see people face to face but hesitant because things aren’t as safe as they could be. 

Q: Are you going to do both in-person and online? If so, how do you think you are going to balance both types?

A: Spring term is the first that I have actually gone back to in-person with having the lab portion of one class in person while my other 3 classes are remote/online. The only problem I have is the timing because it is a science class and I have to drive myself to the lab locations compared to when I had in-person class would be at ten, the class would meet, load in vans then drive to lab location. 

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