East Carolina University students have begun the switch to virtual course instruction due to COVID-19 and with it, ECU has made a point to focus on courses that contain labs and clinicals and how these students will still receive credit for their work.
With the weeks to come, class information will vary and change as new information comes out due to COVID-19. Classes, labs and clinical hours have been one of the main focuses of East Carolina University over the course of March 16 through 22 all in preparation of courses starting back March 23.
Laura Gantt, professor and associate dean for Nursing Support Services, said faculty has been given a week to develop specific plans for their students’ classes, clinicals and labs. Students will receive information from their faculty members and leadership within the college she said.
Gantt said one of the requirements in the College of Nursing are the clinical hours. With many health care facilities facing an increase of work at this time, she said some locations are not allowing students in for clinical rotations, while others are. She said these issues are being handled on a case-by-case basis.
Gantt said there are different viewpoints on whether students should be allowed at clinical sites to learn from how we manage this pandemic or if they should keep out of the way since they are not yet certified and have to be watched over.
“In the event that students don’t feel that they know what is going on, they should contact faculty for the class, lab or clinical that they have questions about,” Gantt said.
However, Gantt said the transition to online courses are not optional during this crisis. She said the university and College of Nursing have strong faculty and IT support teams, so students should be able to reach out for help as needed.
Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry, Andrew Morehead Jr. said that in general chemistry and organic chemistry labs have resulted to online work that include data analysis. Along with online work Morehead said they also have resources available to help with peer review and the students final presentations.
Based on the variety of chemistry classes, he said it’s going to be a variation for the different labs. If it’s something that involves working with a piece of equipment or on equipment faculty will provide a video to show how it’s done and attach questions like a pre-lab. Students will be given the data that would come out of the experiment and asked to write up and submit their work online. He said this will be the basis for most of the labs conducted.
“For gen chem and organic they are not going to get recoded so they won’t actually show up as online with the course majority being face to face anyway but we’re trying to make sure everyone has high speed internet or broad brands to do these classes,” Morehead said.
Though the department has considered the idea of labs over the summer semester Morehead said many professional schools won’t allow online labs. He said the department hopes to figure out a way for students to be able to do this but not get charged.
David Chalcraft, an associate professor of the Biology Department, said that their students will also be provided pictures and data so they could predict hypotheses, design experiments and analyze data. He said different labs similar to the chemistry labs will be handled differently since each course differs especially if you have a more hands on class like anatomy and physiology.
“I know this will be different and a transition, it'll be different for students and faculty because I think a lot of people like face to face instruction and the faculty likes those interactions with students as well so it’s going to be different and we’re all going to have to be as comfortable with that as we can until we’re able to get back,” Chalcraft said.
This transition has affected both faculty and students so ECU administration are constantly updating students on the university and virus, according to Chalcraft. If a student has a question, faculty and staff recommend asking whoever is teaching the course and because it’s a learning process on both sides.