Student Online Experience During COVID-19 Pandemic

Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) transitioned to an online approach for the remainder of the spring and summer 2020 semesters. For the spring semester, HINU made the decision to extend spring break an extra week and resume classes on Monday, March 23rd. This gave time for HINU staff, faculty, and students to adjust, make personal arrangements, and begin preparing for the online transition. 

Students were asked about their adjustment experiences to the online version of classes instead of in-person for the remaining spring semester which ended Thursday, May 7th. HINU students mentioned that the transition was hard, unexpected, and overwhelming. HINU student James Benson said, “Overall, the transition was okay given the circumstances. I felt overwhelmed sometimes, and got the impression that no one quite knew what to do. But I think it turned out okay in the end.” 

When classes resumed after spring break, students were informed that instructors were to notify them of the next steps for their courses. A student survey was sent out by instructors asking what available resources students had, did the students have access to the internet, and where the students were located for mailing purposes.  The instructors were gathering information on how they were to proceed with the impacts of COVID-19 to the best of their ability given students’ needs and their course curriculum. HINU student Nels Smith expressed his thoughts on how instructors handled the whole situation. Smith said, “A lot of instructors made necessary adjustments to accommodate students…”

Some students felt that the online courses gave them some unnecessary frustration. For example, there were some technical issues for HINU student Joey Mczegle. Mczegle expressed how in multiple courses assignments were difficult to complete due to different circumstances. Mczegle says, “Worth mentioning is being better equipped for people who have online trouble such as links directly to assignments.”

Overall, no one saw this transition coming and had to face it head on. HINU made the decision to press forward with online courses and close the campus following guidelines and regulations for the COVID- 19 pandemic. Smith mentioned, “Online courses can work.” This is not the end, but a new start for HINU to tackle new obstacles that may lie ahead.

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