Online or in-person classes: The choice is yours

Students will be able to choose whether to take online or in-person classes next semester. Collegian file photo.


Starting on Nov. 2, Butler students will begin to register for classes and should be prepared for another atypical semester. As of now, Butler is planning to hold classes on campus, but because of the COVID-19  pandemic, some students and faculty members are choosing to stay remote in the spring. Prior to registering, students are able to see which courses are available in-person and which courses are being taught remotely. 

Lecturer of communications Eileen Taylor had never taught an online course before Butler went remote in the spring of 2020. Taylor is teaching remotely this fall and will continue to do so through the spring.

Taylor recognizes the importance of in-person instruction, but she knows that for some people, herself included, that is not the safest option. She said she believes that Butler students should have freedom of choice when it comes to their academic requirements and deciding whether to take in-person or remote courses.

“It could be a blend,” Taylor said. “I advocate for face-to-face. I think human communication, human relationships and social interaction is really important. If you could actually find classes that are required that are face-to-face, I highly recommend those first. Then, if there are required classes that are only offered remotely, I definitely request that students think about that because you want to meet your graduation requirements.” 

Before registering for classes, students must meet with their academic advisor and check their enrollment appointment time on their My.Butler page. 

Scott Bridge, College of Communication internship director and electronic journalism professor, agreed that deciding whether or not to take an online course depends on the class and the student. If students are trying to take all in-person classes, he believes it could allow them to branch out and take a class they might not normally take. 

“I suppose if you’re trying to look for a silver lining, it could be that if a student really doesn’t want to take a class online and is forced to look for alternatives, it might force them to take a class as an elective in something that they think maybe they might be interested in,” Bridge said. 

For the current fall semester, most students have a blend of in-person and hybrid classes. However, some students are taking all of their classes online. 

First-year history major Pierce Greer was supposed to live on-campus, but decided over the summer to stay home. His schedule consists of three online and two hybrid classes. He said his professors have been trying to facilitate online discussions, but that it is not the same as being in a classroom.

“It just doesn’t feel the same because you can see people but it’s through a screen,” Greer said. “So the human interaction is there, but the physical-ness isn’t.” 

Students who are taking a remote course miss out on the experience of learning in a classroom, but are given the opportunity to develop new skills while learning how to navigate taking a class online.

Taylor said that while she prefers face-to-face instruction, she thinks one of the advantages for students taking courses remotely is the chance to improve their competency of digital technology. 

“This has given students an opportunity to demonstrate that they can navigate digital technology and deliver us products like their PowerPoint presentations and their oral and written communication documents,” Taylor said. “That might be something that the students can put in their toolkit, and use it once they actually graduate, and they start seeking their jobs in their careers because we don’t know what the world is going to be like tomorrow, but at least the competency of digital technology in an unprecedented way is going to be beneficial.” 

After taking classes remotely for over eight weeks, Greer shared his advice for students considering online classes. 

“Find a quiet place to go,” Greer said. “Also, make sure you take notes and follow along in classes. Either have a notepad or have your phone pulled up for notes, because sometimes teachers Zoom share, and you can’t get out of that. It’s very annoying if you’re taking online notes, so have a paper and pencil for that.” 

Bridge said students should prepare for their advising appointments and have an idea of which classes they want to take before meeting with their advisor. A full list of the course offerings for the spring 2021 semester can be found at My.Butler under the academic tab of the student center.


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