Loras professors balance work from home

By CAT EDAHL (LCTV)

As the Cornonavirus Pandemic has globally changed the way we go about our daily lives, professors are adapting to the new normal of online education. For some, it’s any easy adjustment while for others it might be more difficult, as the pandemic means everyone is home offering more distractions while trying to navigate working from home.

Dr. Biechler works in her living room. “The tent behind me seems to be a hit for hide and go seek for my 2.5 year old.”

As professors are transitioning from in-class lectures to online, they experiment with multiple ways to continue to teach students on the level they once were. They utilize applications such as Zoom, email, and even giving their students their private numbers to contact them for help. Elaina Biechler, Ph.D says that she “uses a little bit of everything” to continue to instruct her Kinesiology students. In efforts to remain hands on, Biechler mainly uses “zoom and audio powerpoints for some sessions”. And has encouraged her students to FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom call her whenever they need any additional help. While Sports Management professor Dr. Matthew Garret says he “utilizes email, voice over powerpoints, discussion forums, and some zoom calls” to teach his students.

When it comes to the curriculum, the professors had to adapt. Garret states that “in class discussions used to be the bulk of the grading system, but as we’ve moved to online I’ve made many smaller assignments in which I find myself grading a little bit easier”. He also adds that larger assignments he still expects students to challenge themselves however wants to continue to balance out “understanding and compassion” of the current situation. For Biechler, hands-on learning used to be a large part of the curriculum, as students take on the role of “personal trainer” in her classes. She mentioned that students have really stepped up and created YouTube videos and recorded Zoom meetings with clients to keep this hands on practice of their skills, from a social distance.

Dr. Garret working in his home office.

Working from home has made an impact on these professors, as both have kids to care for while balancing their life as a professor. Biechler has a 2 and a half year old at home, but is fortunate that she is able to still send him off to an at home day care with one other family, making it easier to get work done. However, not having a routine has been “difficult”, and she wishes she could “structure classes more regularly” than she is as of now. Garret has three boys at home, and although all are “old enough to care for themselves”, his wife, who is working long hours at the hospital has left him more of the cooking responsibilities than before.

Although these professors have both adapted to the changes from the pandemic, they look foreword to the next time they will be back in the classroom with their students. As Biechler says, “we sure miss having you all on campus.”

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Cat Edahl is a junior from San Fransisco, CA. She is a reporter for LCTV Sports Zone.

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