Faculty preparing transition to online formats


Photo by Quinten Sargent

Missouri Southern, has closed campus effective as of March 13, due to the rising concern of the Coronavirus and the safety of students, faculty and staff.

Quinten Sargent

“I apologize to the inconvenience of the students and the faculty and staff, but I wont apologize for trying to protect the health and safety of the people that matter,” said University President, Dr. Alan Marble.

 On March 12, Southern issued a statement informing students, faculty and staff that from March 13 to April 30, classes will be moved to a distance learning format.

 Instructors have started moving their classes to an online format and plan to continue to do so over Spring Break. Southern’s Distance Learning department has offered multiple services to help faculty transfer classes from an in-class format to online.

 Director of Distance Learning, Scott Snell, said that Instructional Designers have started scheduling appointments to translate in-class lectures to an online format, and Noel Wiseman, coordinator of multimedia production has began scheduling appointments to record lecture videos as an online resource for students.

 Dr. Keith Talley, the chair of the department of music at Southern believes classes being moved to an online format wont be as big of a concern as the lost social interaction of ensemble groups and rehearsals.

 “The one thing from our department standpoint is the strong social interaction that we have because when students are a member of an ensemble they work as a group toward a common goal and you don’t think about that interaction disappearing,” said Talley.

Talley, said that lecture classes will be easily translated to an online format, and as far as lessons and recitals, the department will use all their available resources.

 “We’ve got colleagues all around the country who are running into the same issues so we’re able to tap into that,” said Talley. “There’s a Facebook group that’s grown to like 4,000 members that deals specifically with applied lessons online that we’re getting a lot of good ideas from.”

 Southern has included the Spiva Library in its list of closures due to the Centers for Disease Control’s instructions to limit access to places where large numbers of people can congregate.

 “However, there’s a lot of online resources now but we just had to be very carful about any place where large numbers of people could congregate. That’s the instruction we’re getting from the CDC and the World Heath Organization,” said Dr. Marble.

 Departments such as the Psychology Department requires students to complete a three credit hour Senior Thesis course.

 Dr. Holly Hackett, department chair of the psychology department said that their department will continue working with students because every student’s situation will be different.

 “Some students are analyzing data, while others haven’t even started collecting data so we have to come up with different plans for each student but also trying to be consistent across courses,” said Hackett.

 In regards to student’s concerns for their education, family concerns about safety, and faculty concerns about transferring classes to an online format, Dr. Marble said that we should take comfort in the knowledge our faculty possesses.

 “We’re encouraging people to be flexible, and help students that are nervous about projects. I really thinking that the students should take great comfort in the fact that we have the best faculty around who take the success of our students very seriously,” said Dr. Marble.