The day after the University transitioned to online classes, assistant professor Melanie Studer dedicated her class as an open space for students to talk about their feelings.
They went into breakout rooms and then reconvened to vent their frustrations.
Studer, who teaches in the department of health policy and management in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, is just one of the many UNC professors and faculty who have gone the extra mile for their students throughout the past week. Professors have been communicating with students and adjusting their syllabi to help students breathe during the transition to fully remote instruction and new living situations.
Studer said the pandemic has affected the way faculty and staff in the public health school approach online learning, guided by flexibility, adaptability and kindness. She has adjusted her teaching by swapping out exams for other types of assessments.
“She literally gave me her phone number," said Anusha Dubey, a student in two of Studer’s classes and Studer’s faculty advisee. “I called her in early August right before the housing cancellation deadline was due — before everything changed — and just vented to her about my frustrations with having to come back to UNC or not.”
Dubey said Studer dedicated her Thursday class as an open space for students to talk about their feelings. She said they went into breakout rooms and then reconvened to vent frustrations.
Professor Brandon Bayne, an associate professor in religious studies, revised his syllabus when students were sent home in March — a post that went viral on social media.
“I told our dean directly in a conversation that I was still going to plan the class as an online class because one way or another we’d end up online,” Bayne said. “My idea behind it was to design both courses online and then think of face-to-face as an added value.”
He said he bought a 12-by-12 feet canopy to meet students outside near campus locations relevant to the material. But the University told him the class would be moved fully remote five days before they began, due to a lack of classroom space. Remotely, Bayne used Google Forms and Zoom polls to communicate logistics and gauge their situations and feelings.