Perspectives on Online Midterms Vary Heavily

by Bella Woodhouse, Contributing Writer

    The recent events of the COVID-19 pandemic have affected the way midterms are being held. 

    Students are concerned with online midterms and have a fear of potential academic fraud, and feeling as if there are now disadvantages to those taking them in person. 

    For students who are taking online classes it can feel as if sometimes you are teaching yourself  much of the material, the professor isn’t there helping you in person. This becomes an issue for midterms thanks to a lack of communication between both the material and professor. Sophomore Kennedy Savoy majoring in Biology Pre-medical voiced her concern, “My statistics class is online and sometimes my professor talks too fast and won’t go back and explain things. This makes it harder on exams like midterms when I feel like I’ve taught myself the material.” 

    Not all professors choose to have a midterm, but for those who did, online challenges may be hard to overcome. Professor Jackson who teaches BIO 110N, Introduction to Avian Ecology feels as if he doesn’t think his midterm being online is a challenge for his students. “I am conducting the midterm online. It is my first time doing it at UMF. Some students do seem to be struggling with things moved online in general; however, most of my students have been completing their online assessments and work just fine. Since they have been taking quizzes and doing other tasks online, I don’t anticipate that the midterm being online would present any additional challenges.”

    A few students took their midterm in person but most chose to take the class online. Students taking  midterms in person can feel as if they have a disadvantage to the students taking the online version. “I took the midterm in person but there was a problem with the online version. Some of the questions were missing and weren’t the same as ours. This caused confusion and the professor didn’t even realize until 20 minutes left of class,” said Sophomore Sydney Beecher. 

    The students taking an online midterm also have a higher advantage on getting a better grade with the potential chance of academic fraud. Beecher felt she had an disadvantage for taking it in person because, “the professor couldn’t watch the online students take the test and I fear even though there is a code of honor for online students, I wouldn’t be surprised if some students didn’t follow it.”

Planning for Uncertainty

by Bella Woodhouse, Contributing Writer

    October has officially arrived at UMF. The leaves are turning, classes have been in session for a month, and pre-registration is creeping up on students. 

    Pre-registration, which started Oct. 5, is a required process every semester that prepares students to sign up for classes for the next semester. Students use Schedule Planner and MaineStreet to plan and put their potential classes on their Wish List before getting approval from their academic advisor. 

    Despite more restricted limits to how many students can be in a class and a lot of classes being online, the process will be essentially the same, but advisor meetings have been and will take place on Zoom. “I think there has been a lot of creative thinking about how to still hold classes,” said a UMF faculty member who wished to remain anonymous. “There are a limited number of traditional, fully face-to-face classes, but there are not fewer classes overall; students still have a variety of classes to choose from. They just need to be flexible about how they are offered.” 

    This year, professors must decide on whether they will offer their class asynchronously (students complete work at their own pace), synchronously (students meet online with professor all at once), or even half in person half asynchronously. 

    Due to the pandemic, the maximum amount of students that can be in a class has decreased, creating more stress than usual for students registering for classes. “As is always the case, I think some students won’t get the classes they most desire because they will fill up,” said the faculty member. “I think some students will struggle to find the courses they need that fit into a good schedule for them…I also imagine that some students who are looking for only one type of instruction (i.e. only face-to-face or only remote or only hybrid) might struggle. I feel like flexibility has to be the name of the game this year for everyone!”  

    Pre-registration is just beginning and students are now concerned about what registration for the upcoming semester will resemble. “When the school year started I didn’t even think about pre-registration and now that it’s here I am worried I won’t be able to get the classes I need,” said Victoria Garand, a sophomore majoring in actuarial science. “I don’t mind online classes, but I miss being in person and my major makes online learning difficult.”