FL college students have begun learning through video conferencing. Will it work?

Florida State University. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Florida’s college students, professors and instructors have begun remote learning through video conferencing, and time will tell on how it will play out and how much kids will learn during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some professors are not familiar with distance learning technology, making the transition even more difficult.

One adjunct professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Florida Phoenix that the transition to teaching remote classes in film is “not too bad.”

At Tallahassee’s Florida State University in Tallahassee, students have begun receiving remote lectures through Zoom, an online video conferencing service and Canvas, the school’s learning management system.

“Today we started remote teaching,” President John Thrasher said during Monday’s FSU Board of Trustees conference call. “I heard it’s going really well. We are monitoring how everybody is doing, we have our IT people available.”

“All of our students have left campus except for 183,” he said.

According to the university’s website, Zoom offers HD video and can accommodate as many as 300 participants. But not all classes at FSU, such as those that require lab work, can be taught through the video platform.

“We have a program called Zoom and it works,” Thrasher said. “It gets everybody who is participating in the class to call in. We can’t use it for everything, there are some classes [that have] labs.”

Kim Houghton, a business analyst at the FSU’s Office of Distance Learning, said in a press release that “the goal is to offer some very basic steps that every faculty member would need to know to get some initial success online.”

She added: “Our approach is more of a quick start guide,” Houghton said in a written statement. “Once they get used to a few basic tools, then there are so many resources that we’re prepared to offer. We didn’t want to overwhelm someone who had never taught online.”

Meanwhile, USF officials issued an alert Sunday on its website about a student testing positive for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

“This weekend we learned that a USF St. Petersburg student has tested positive for COVID-19,” the alert said. “Based on the Department of Health’s assessment, there is no need for further contact-tracing at the university for this case, as the student has not been to campus since late February.”