There’s something to be said for maintaining consistency, especially in the uncertainty of today's world. Having a consistent and unified plan can mean the difference between order and chaos, giving a sense of normalcy in the most unusual of situations.
Since the University announced it would be implementing a mix of remote and classroom learning for the fall semester, consistency has seemed an afterthought to the administration.
In an attempt to create as normal of an environment as possible, certain classes continued in person, but others were either forced or chose to go online for the safety and convenience of students. The issue with the hybrid model attempting to retain some aspects of the on-campus "college experience" is that it loses the consistency of a typical college schedule and only serves to complicate things.
Take my schedule, for example. Four of my classes are remote and the other is in a lecture hall on campus. When I scheduled my courses in the spring, I formulated my schedule anticipating they'd all be delivered via the same method, remotely or in person, and fit together like puzzle pieces to form my school day.
My on-campus class happens to end right before a remote class begins. This wouldn’t be an issue if my classes were consistent in their delivery, but the University’s inconsistent model leaves me with an ultimatum: either rush to find a quiet place with good internet to connect to a Zoom call or sacrifice the latter half of my lecture to go home to start my virtual class on time.
Mixing remote and in-person classes, in addition to being inconvenient for students, also involves mixing learning styles. Remote classes are based on independent instruction, allowing students to learn at the pace that suits them, whereas in-person classes typically have much more structured, rigorous formats.
The dissonance between the two, along with the general issue of juggling hybrid classes, can only be solved through a wholly consistent delivery of instruction.
Even in a pandemic, higher education should not be an exercise in compromise. Students should not have to choose which class they value more than another, especially when they're paying thousands in tuition. They should be able to manufacture a schedule that fits their needs.
Since returning to a consistent on-campus experience is out of the realm of possibility right now, with 229 positive COVID-19 results reported on campus only a few days into the semester, I can only make the case for a fully remote experience, as it seems to be the inevitable solution.
The University should reconsider the logistics of its hybrid model and move in-person classes online not only for students' physical well-being but their mental health as well. After this year, a return to relative consistency would do us all some good.
Domenic Purdy is a 19-year-old journalism sophomore from Prairieville, LA.