My experience adapting to online classes due to COVID-19

CATEGORIES: Student Perspective
Dakota Trenakamp headshot
Dakota Trenakamp, junior in public relations and event management

Editor’s note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Iowa State University has moved all spring 2020 courses to virtual instruction for the remainder of the semester. Students in Assistant Professor Laura Witzling and Assistant Teaching Professor Beth Haag’s Public Relations Writing (P R 321) courses wrote blog posts about how COVID-19 has affected their lives for the Greenlee School student experience blog. This post has been published with permission. 

By Dakota Trenakamp, junior in public relations and event management

When Iowa State University released the news that classes were going to transfer to an online format, I was shocked. This is something that no one saw coming at the beginning of the semester.

As a student new to Iowa State University, I am saddened not to be on campus during my first spring semester. However, I’m not alone in this situation. Most colleges and universities across the United States and the world, have transitioned to virtual instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation is far from ideal, but as a Greenlee student, I am making the best of this challenging time.

One of the challenges I and other students have faced is a hectic schedule. This semester, I’m taking difficult classes and there are some days I am in class 8 a.m. to  4 p.m.

Even though this has been a hard time, there are a number of things our Iowa State and Greenlee administration and instructors have done to make this work:

  • Offering a flexible schedule to achieve objectives
  • Focusing on skills
  • Meeting by Zoom or phone
  • Altering of the pass/not pass policy for courses impacted by the transition to virtual instruction

These solutions do help with the stress in this continually evolving environment. The majority of my classes had quite a smooth transition online. I get to still be part of the classroom from over 100 miles away. Faculty are evolving their teaching methods to make sure we are getting to interact with each other. Many of us are enjoying the idea of relaxing and not straying too far from bed to attend our lectures. Additionally, the installment of the temporary pass/not pass policy this semester for any courses impacted by the transition to virtual instruction does help calm anxiety related to these uncertain times.

My favorite aspect of the transition to online classes at the Greenlee School is seeing how resilient we all are. From faculty and staff to students, we have all come together to make sure education will continue. Whether this is online or in person, we will grow from this situation. We’ll also know we’ll have a plan in the event we’re forced to make a transition like this again.

We know our regular college lives will resume at some point, but now our mission is to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The Greenlee School will prosper and continue: See you in the fall!

Dakota Trenakamp is the public relations director for Ethos magazine and a community assistant at Union on Lincoln Way Apartments. He transferred to Iowa State in fall 2019, and had a “truly amazing” first year, with Greenlee and Iowa State making me feel at home.