"While we are living in a time that has created so many obstacles, not just to learning, but industries, the stability of economies, and most every other aspect of life, I applaud Rice University’s commitment to continue providing its students a fantastic education through all these challenges at the best quality possible. From my point of view, my transition to online learning could not have been smoother, and that is thanks to the wonderful job done by Rice professors and IT staff. Coming back after spring break my professors were extremely well prepared and fluent in all the online tools needed to provide the best possible remote learning they can. This allowed us to hit the ground running immediately with our courses. In the month since school has been virtual, none of my professors have had any hiccups or problems using online teaching methods, and my professors are still able to get through all of their course material, administer office hours, and give us plenty of help along the way. I sincerely applaud Rice University in their adjustments to provide us students with continued high quality learning." - Maher Nammour, Economics, Class of 2021
"My psychology professors have done a great job of fostering an environment that's focused on learning while recognizing that not all students have the same access to resources at home. Our lectures have served as time to reflect and connect with others, and assignments have been reduced and center more on discussion with our classmates to engage us in the class material." - Alyssa Curry, Psychology, Class of 2020
"As with any transition, switching classes to online learning has been challenging at times. However, Rice faculty and students have certainly risen to the challenge of finding new ways to connect and learn together, even while physically apart. One really refreshing aspect of online learning over video calls is getting to a small window into the lives and home spaces of professors and classmates. This has led to candid conversations about current life & wellbeing which has been really nice. I've appreciated the flexibility of professors in making realistic accommodations, as well as the enthusiasm of my classmates to continue learning and engaging in new ways" - Allison Yelvington, Sociology, Class of 2020
"Coronavirus, quarantine, and social distancing have affected us all in profound ways. I'm thankful for the efforts of many of my social sciences professors to ensure that classroom accommodations reflect the unique time we occupy now. Professors have adjusted deadlines, changed classroom formats, and continued to work incredibly hard amidst a global pandemic. It is evident that Rice faculty are working to create a culture of care even despite these difficult circumstances." - Connor Rothschild, Social Policy Analysis, Class of 2021
"The transition to online classes went a little smoother than I originally anticipated. One of my linguistics professors began our first week back with recorded lectures, which was very helpful as I was still getting settled at home and adjusting to my family members’ schedules. Because of that soft transition, it was a lot easier to catch up when we started synchronous lectures and discussions. Once everything was online, I also found it so hard to keep track of which assignments were due when. I needed to become a lot more organized, but thankfully my professors were forgiving and understanding throughout my learning curve, which I really appreciated. It’s more important than ever in this worrying and isolating time to make our learning less of a stressor and more a respite." - Serene Chen, Cognitive Sciences Linguistics, Class of 2021
"So far, the transition to online classes has been alright. My professors have been extremely accommodating and have provided our classes with even more materials and resources than before! My professors also take the extra effort to record our lectures, which allows us, students, to check-in and recap prior classes. My professors have continued to be great. It is more difficult to focus, but with the professors being more accommodating and my grades staying afloat, the transition to online classes has been smoother than expected." - Rajpal Bal, Social Sciences, Class of 2023
Professor Rachel Kimbro’s class is partnering with the Woodson Research Center to document an unprecedented campus closure. A journaling project that began as an impromptu lesson on the 1918 influenza pandemic will capture 49 Rice students’ experiences as they spend the rest of the semester off campus and learning remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Sociology professor Rachel Kimbro has been teaching her popular Medical Sociology course for over a decade, addressing such topics as how inequality influences health. But last month, Kimbro went off script at the request of her students to teach an ad hoc class about the 1918 pandemic. Read more at Rice News. Below are initial thoughts on virtual learning from three students in Dr. Kimbro's class.
"Although there is no real substitute for the experience you get learning in a Rice classroom or lecture hall, the transition to online courses for the rest of the semester has been more seamless than I ever expected. I have been especially impressed with and grateful to Dr. Rachel Kimbro and the work she has put into her Medical Sociology course. We’ve maintained class discussions over Zoom and the online material she has recorded gives flexibility in learning that is necessary for a time like this when there are so many concerns for students outside of class. If anything, classes have become a welcome respite for me from the real concerns I have about the safety of my family and friends. In the course, we are submitting COVID-19 journal entries, giving us the space to discuss how the pandemic is affecting our lives in ways very much related to the things we have learned about in class. I myself am a senior, and so ending my tenure at Rice in online courses is extremely bittersweet, but I am so grateful to the professors and staff at Rice for all of the work that they’ve done to maintain the high standards of education that the Rice community has come to expect and appreciate." - Chloe Edmiston, Sociology, Class of 2020
"The transition from in-person to online learning has certainly been an interesting one. As someone who really values face-to-face learning, I was nervous to take my academics online and lose that part of the learning process. Luckily, all of my professors have been incredibly accommodating and sympathetic. The entire Rice community has really banded together during these unprecedented times - another reason why I feel so fortunate to be attending this university. While us students are understanding of the difficulties faced by professors to move their courses online, learn how to work Zoom, and facilitate a semi-equivalent learning environment, professors continue to show students nothing but compassion and commitment to continue providing top-notch instruction. Now more than ever, students and professors are a team, dedicated to finishing this semester strong despite the obstacles we've been presented. It's been a few weeks since we moved online, and I have been able to work through technical issues and adjust to this new way of learning while maintaining my academic performance. Despite my preference for in-person instruction, I find myself being able to learn about as well as I could've otherwise. It's not what any of us would've chosen, but we are making the absolute best of it, and I certainly would not have adjusted as well as I have without the support of my professors." - Hannah Towbin, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Class of 2021
"At first, it took time getting used to viewing lectures and attending meetings on Zoom on a regular basis. There were also the technical challenges that came with online learning, but my professors were able to navigate through them. After a couple weeks of using the online learning platform, I learned to make the most out of my time through making a schedule for each day to be productive and also to take care of my wellbeing. Our online Medical Sociology (SOCI 345) classes use the breakout room and chat features on Zoom for discussions, and my professors record their lectures to accommodate the different schedules students may have. I am grateful for my professors' efforts to create the most enjoyable and successful online learning experience possible for students." - David Yang, Chemistry, Class of 2020