Cal State LA students demand more online classes next semester – University Times
Many Cal State LA students aren’t thrilled that the majority of classes offered next semester will be in person.
“I started this petition because if not me, then who?” said Nicolette Elia, a second-year transfer student. “Sitting around hoping for things to change won’t accomplish anything.
Elia has decided to launch an online store petition calling for giving students more options for online courses. The petition was created on October 20 and now has over 3,600 signatures.
Even though she is fully vaccinated, Elia would still prefer to take online classes next semester.
“My mental health has deteriorated significantly due to this pandemic, and being forced to go in person, risking my mental and physical health, will only make things worse,” she said.
Elia thinks there should be options for students who want to be in person or online, as many people are in different situations.
“As an institution, they have a responsibility to maintain the well-being and safety of every student and staff member of this school, as well as providing accommodation and giving all of us equal access to education. “, Elia said. “They fail to do both.”
When the University Times contacted Cal State LA’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs on Oct. 27 via email, the department said the university was aware of the petition started by Elia. The administrators also shared information on the percentage of online classes in the next semester.
“Of the courses offered by Cal State LA for the spring semester, 12.5% are hybrid or online,” the university said.
On November 3, UT received an email response from the Office of Communications and Public Affairs indicating that the current Spring 2022 schedule has over 600 courses in hybrid or online format. This represents approximately 16% of the courses offered. The university is working with faculty to add more hybrid or online courses and expects 20% of spring classes to be offered online or in hybrid formats.
This week, some professors reported being told it was closer to 25%.
In an informal survey, the University Times asked students if they would prefer strictly in-person classes or a mix of online and in-person classes for the spring. Of the 259 responses, 15% said they would like to be entirely in person while 85% said they wanted a mix of the two.
“These last semesters at home, I was able to take more classes because I was at home,” said Karina Valdez, a social work student. “I am a full-time student working full-time and will be a first-time mom next spring semester. I was hoping they offered more online classes so people like me could spend more time at home while continuing their education.
Valdez was “disappointed” that most classes were planning to be in person.
She said she signed Elia’s petition in hopes that she could have time next semester to bond with her future child.
Despite many students asking for more online options, there are still others like Abel Guillen, a mechanical engineering student, who prefer classes to be entirely in person.
“I kind of missed a lot of practical opportunities, like machining a flashlight, gearbox, robots, and other cool projects that I could have done if COVID had never happened” , said Guillen. “Sometimes I felt like last year was more of a mess.”
Guillen said he didn’t feel like he learned anything last semester in an online environment because of distractions at home, like his phone. When his teachers pre-recorded their lessons, he noticed that “hardly anyone was watching” because there were fewer views on the video compared to the number of students in his class.
“I think being in person would help us be more social and have more motivation than sitting in front of a bright screen for most of your day,” he said.
As a tutor for the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology Student Success Center, Guillen didn’t see the online environment as suitable for his interactions with other students. He said they all had their cameras turned off and he would receive complete silence when he asked a question.
“It was really hard to get them to socialize with each other and get them to understand the material because they weren’t really concentrating,” he said. “I can’t really blame them. I do the same thing.”
Now, Guillen is able to tutor in person, and her current students are “learning more and more engaged.” He can see that they are actually doing their job, and they are more engaged by asking questions.
Other students, like kinesiology major Michael Rodriguez, would prefer a mix of in-person and online classes.
“When I attend in-person classes, I feel compelled to pay attention and I’m also free from distractions,” Rodriguez said. “It basically allows me to do class work and complete the course more efficiently. On the other hand, taking an online course allows me to create my own time to work on the class work for that particular course. and do it all from the comfort of my home.
Rodriguez was unaware of Elia’s petition, but said he would sign it to have online and in-person classes.
Elia decided to take a winter course in order to have one less course to take in person: “$980 is a lot for a class, but I prefer that to the stress of an in-person class.”
Elia said she emailed President William Covino, Vice President Jose Gomez and Assistant to the President Ana Caudillo multiple times regarding the petition.
“I haven’t received a response from any of them, but I will continue to email them weekly until I get a response,” she said. “It’s the least I’m asking with this petition. An answer to our concerns and an acknowledgment of the situation so that the voice of the students can at least be heard, regardless of whether it is approved or rejected.