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COVID Through the Eyes of the Student

Sitting around a fire with friends during our spring break in Lake Wedowee, Alabama, is where I found out I will be finishing my junior year of college online!? Like many of you, I still find it strange to think of how so much has changed in everyday life and how we have all adjusted to living during a pandemic. I’m just the “college kid.”

Of course the next step after spring was to return to Oxford, where all our belongings were still. Many of us soon returned to our respective hometowns, unsure and confused about what impact COVID-19 would have on our college experience and town.

You Are Officially Online.

Luckily, my professors in the School of Journalism and New Media were great when it came to transitioning their classes online. I quickly adapted my way of waking up and walking to my classes on campus to waking up and walking to my kitchen table for Zoom meetings. Though, I was already taking two online classes and knew exams would have to be proctored different too. This is where Proctorio would (soon) came into play.

Exams What?

Proctorio is an extension that can be downloaded and is used to proctor online exams with access to your computer’s audio, camera and screen. This program helped combat cheating because Proctorio will flag your exam if there were suspicious movements, new tabs open, etc. This was commonly used in most classes. During a Proctorio exam you can see yourself being recorded in the left-hand corner, so at times I found myself more focused on making sure I did not make a “weird movement” to avoid being flagged, and ended up having to re-read the questions a couple of times. I later found out on my final exam I could minimize the screen and did not have to watch myself take the test, which helped out a lot.

Z and P Grading

Like most schools across the nation, Ole Miss gave the pass/fail option for classes. The emergency Z and P grading option allowed students to have more flexibility with their final grades and still earn course credit. The Z and P grades are not counted in the overall Grade Point Average calculation and benefited students who struggled with the transition of changing to online. For example, the lowest a student’s final grade in a class could be to use a passing “Z” grade is a “C”, a “C-” and “D” is converted to a “P”. If a student failed with an “F”, it is still converted as “F” and calculated as an “F” in overall GPA. Students could choose which class they wanted to use the Z and P system for and did not have to apply to each course they took. I was satisfied with my final grades and opted out of using the Z and P system.

Moving On

Although everyone had their own unique experience with transitioning to all classes online, college students everywhere will always remember their Spring semester of 2020. I think online classes in a regular semester can be great, and when given the option some students might still choose an online class rather than an early class.

Not me. This whole experience made me realize how badly I want to be walking through The Grove on a pretty Friday morning and climb the steps in Farley Hall for an 8 a.m. again.

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