President M. Roy Wilson said on April 23 Wayne State will most likely remain online for the fall 2020 semester and with the university anticipating an online fall 2020 semester, some incoming freshmen feel unprepared for an online college experience.
“I am very disheartened by the possibility of an online fall semester,” said Leen Rass, an incoming neuroscience student.
Rass feels unprepared for online learning, and doesn’t know what to expect coming into her first semester of college.
“I am hopeful that if classes are online that we’ll be given proper instruction, especially as freshmen trying to figure out the online systems like Academica and Degreeworks after years of using whatever online portals our high schools provided,” Rass said.
Incoming freshman Sena Alhaidar said she was looking forward to her first semester at WSU, but isn’t as excited anymore.
“I think it’s a little upsetting to not be able to experience my first semester of university on campus, it’s something that I have been preparing for, for quite some time and was an exciting new experience,” Alhaidar said.
Although a new student orientation was held online, the university has not given incoming freshmen advice or updates regarding a possible remote first semester, Rass said.
“The most the university has done is send out a couple emails about the situation but they haven’t really fully prepared the incoming students for what they are about to face considering we are entering a completely new environment,” Alhaidar said .
Alhaidar and Rass both fear that their learning experiences may be hindered in an online environment.
How an online learning environment will affect different educational programs is up in the air too.
Academic Pathways to Excellence is a university program that offers struggling students support. APEX offers the Summer Bridge program, which is held for eight weeks and introduces incoming freshmen to university life and learning.
The program usually requires students to live on campus for eight weeks, but it will be remote this summer, said APEX director Mark Jackson.
Jackson said students will be able to take english and math courses online and will have guidance along the way.
“There will be a series of individual and group advisor meetings with assigned APEX advisors who guide them through their major and elective requirements. They also receive support and encouragement from our team of tutors and study group leaders for virtual assistance throughout the summer,” Jackson said.
APEX staff is still undergoing virtual training, and staff members have been supplied with necessary equipment in order to provide its summer students with the support they may need.
“The online learning environment usually involves an adjustment for everyone who is used to face-to-face teaching and learning,” Jackson said.
Jackson said communication between support teams and students will be required regularly.
“Sometimes things that are new and unfamiliar make us uncomfortable, but with guidance, support and encouragement, we find that we are capable of more than we knew,” he said.