Student perspectives on switch to online classes

Throughout the Spring semester, the Purdue community made a variety of changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The biggest change came on March 23 when the switch from in-person classes to online only was made. Read on for a peek into the new normal for an undergraduate and graduate student as they continue their persistent pursuit of a Boilermaker education.

Emily D'Antonio, EEE Junior

Life has become very different very rapidly these past few weeks and life as a student at Purdue has taken on a new look. For me, I have tried to keep some sort of routine similar to what I would do on campus. I wake up around 10:00 am and then proceed to the kitchen to make my "breakfast" smoothie even though its almost lunchtime. Next I watch a Boilercast of my first class of the day which should have been at 8:30 am while drinking my smoothie. After that, I go through all of my other classes in order of when they would have been. Some of my classes have the option to join a Webex so I can follow in real-time with my professor, but most of them are videos that I can watch whenever. After I go through all of my classes, I look at my calendar to see what assignments are due that day and finish those if I have not already done so.

My workspace is the table in my apartment. I set up there with my laptop and all of my notebooks. On lazier days I sit on the couch with my laptop on my lap, but those are days usually when I only have to watch lectures and take notes. Before spring break, I was living in the dorms. After campus shut down, I moved in with my boyfriend in Indianapolis. My family lives on Long Island in New York, so I felt it was better to finish off the semester in Indiana opposed to there. My boyfriend currently works for the Indiana State Board of Accounts and has been working from home due to the Stay at Home Order. He works at his desk, so we don't step on each other's toes. We haven't killed each other yet, but my lack of doing dishes is starting to show.

Emily D'Antonio wearing mask by Indianapolis canal

After all the work is done for the day, we have various things for entertainment. One major thing is cooking. We have been trying out a ton of new and different recipes since we have lots of time now to prepare dinner. I have attempted to finish a puzzle. I started with a Jackson Pollock painting so it's not going very well. My boyfriend's apartment is in Downtown Indianapolis off of the canal, so we go for walks from time to time. We also watch Netflix...tons of Netflix. My family is all still safe and healthy even though they are in New York. We video chat now and then to catch up on how things are going. My Grandma has sewn a bunch of face masks and has sent them to me. At this point, I probably have a different one for every day of the week even though I don't go outside much. My favorite thing to destress right now is to sit on the couch and work on my puzzle while the tv is playing in the background. I stare at my computer screen for most of the day, so the puzzle allows my eyes to look at something tangible, but it's also hard for me to sit in silence so the TV is good for that. Overall life has changed a lot, but my situation is far from bad compared to many other people in the world right now. I am grateful that even though I might be bored at times, I am staying safe and healthy.

Christopher Tracy, EEE Professional Master's Student

In the wake of COVID-19, online learning has become the new normal for all students, graduate students included. As both professors and students learn how to collaborate in this new learning environment, it certainly is not the same as attending a class in-person. Since each professor prefers a different form of teaching, whether that be Webex lectures or prerecorded PowerPoint videos, my daily routine has changed to manage online learning. Most of the classes that I am enrolled in have kept the meeting time the same, which helps part of my daily schedule stay constant. I have temporarily moved back home, outside of South Bend, IN, where I have been able to spend time with my family and my two dogs. I have set up a dedicated workspace in my room where I can participate in online classes in a quiet space.

Chris Tracy

While the quality of lectures has remained relatively the same, my group projects been working on ways to stay productive while not meeting in person. There are many online platforms for us to video chat, but many are new to me and have a learning curve. However, I believe that learning how to use these platforms early in my professional career will help me to be proficient with digital collaboration. There are many forms of technology that can be used, yet I still prefer using a computer or laptop with an external monitor to be as effective as I can. With all of that, I have had to block off parts of my day to focus on schoolwork to ensure that I am not distracted by home life since visiting home is normally synonymous with breaks in school.

Moving back home was an easy decision for me because I lived alone in a small apartment in West Lafayette. In addition to my parents and siblings to talk to, I have been spending a lot of time with my dogs, which definitely soothes any stress or anxiety that I have about the current situation and course work. Taking the dogs on walks over the past couple of weeks has also given me a good break to stay active and exercise. During any free time that I have, I enjoy video calls with friends back at Purdue and having virtual game nights with them. While things might be different from here on out, I am looking forward to returning to campus next semester and seeing all of my fellow Boilermakers again!