Science department moves courses completely online


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College of the Desert’s Science Department is officially online for the Fall 2020 semester.

Students and faculty continue preparing for what’s going to be a very different semester. The pandemic has left most students on campus unsatisfied with what was last semesters virtual classes. The semester started with face-to-face classes until it went virtual in March due to the COVID-19. This situation we are currently facing worldwide has left the education system no choice than to shift to full virtual classes until further notice.

Every department at College of The Desert has worked together so students could get the best out of their semester, and so that they don’t have any trouble completing their online courses.

Unfortunately, not every department will get the same opportunities to succeed and get the best experience possible. Students won’t get the opportunity to enjoy the class as much since most students learn better in the face to face courses. Francisco Pascual who is majoring in plant science said, “It’s terrible, science online is an absolute no. There’s a reason why I don’t take online classes, and being forced to do chemistry online was very challenging. I’m retaking it now but being in a chair for 2-4 hours for a lab is terrible, this is no way to take science courses.” This situation is affecting the science major students the most since they are looking to achieve a career out of these courses.

College of the Dessert has also been challenging due to the website failure. The science department students have it difficult in the way that only some are able to log into their Canvas. Dinora Castillo is majoring in childhood education said, “I dislike it very much that the website is down. A few days before I started school I tried logging into my web advisor and it looked like the website was hacked and I was having difficulties accessing my zoom meeting and turning in some assignments.”

The website failure and drastic changes have even made it difficult for some students to get into a science class. Some of them are left on the waiting list.  Biology professor, German Musch explained that since students from the waitlist won’t be added to the class due to the limited spots, this is why he chose to add students through his only option which was a “lottery” system.

Kinesiology student, Yadira Elizarraras who has been affected by these circumstances said, “I was looking forward to taking my biology class since I need it. I guess I will have to wait till next semester since most classes are full and the waitlist looks like it’s not an option anymore.” The science professors are doing what they can to get as many students in their class, they are aware that this semester is crucial and students need the most support.

The staff of the College of the Desert plays an important role in student success. This has been a challenging time for them. Students say their science professors are doing a great job with the online courses but unfortunately, some are having trouble adapting to this new way of learning.

Despite the technical difficulties and glitches, students believe the professors are going above and beyond in their efforts to provide the same quality education as in-person learning. Professor Jeff Place who teaches play science at COD is a clear example of the effort put into this semester, he said, “It has definitely been a challenge but I am doing my best to make sure students get the best out of this class, especially during these difficult times.”

This is especially important in the lab learning since it is critical for students to obtain hands-on experience. Students majoring in science-related careers end up affected the most since it is they who need hands-on projects to gain experience and succeed. Student Estefania Moreira a journalism and nutrition major said, “I am taking environmental science this semester and it’s in an asynchronous format. I will admit it’s a different experience. I was really looking forward to my lab days with this class. From friends who took it earlier before the shutdown say its areally fun class. I was looking forward to the field trips this class goes on based on environmental science. A science class is not the same online. It feels more lonely since I don’t even know who are my fellow classmates. On the upside, my professor is good at communicating with me and I can tell he’s on it with responding. His modules are easy to understand and I am learning on my own.”

The communication between professors and students is more important than ever during these times. Staying connected will get everyone through the semester.