Thu02252021

Last updateWed, 24 Feb 2021 1pm

Editorial

Are Students Being Overworked?

default article imageWith the changes students have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, it begs the question: are students being overworked?

This pandemic has been a transition for professors and students alike, who are both trying to find balance. Some students have suggested that professors expect too much, overloading them with assignments. Meanwhile, professors have to provide classwork and homework for students on top of exams, papers, and so much more. How do professors know when enough is enough?

“I feel like professors are assigning the same amount of work than if we were in person,” one Outlook editor commented. “It just feels harder to manage because we were thrown into this virtual environment that many of us were not used to and/or don’t like.”

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The Effect of Remote Learning on Professors

default article imageHalfway through our third COVID-riddled semester, conversation on adapting to the new remote formats is often centered on the students. It makes sense, but professors have had trouble adapting too. Logging into a Zoom call is one thing, but setting them up and coordinating with students is a whole new beast for many faculty.

One editor feels bad for the professors being tossed into this new remote environment. “They were not trained to do this,” the editor said. “For them, it is all learning the material on their own. They are not receiving the credit they deserve on this. I truly feel that they deserve more recognition than they are given.”

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The Release of the New COVID-19 Vaccines

default article imageThe COVID-19 vaccines have been rolling out since Dec. 14, and there has been a constant debate about whether people want to receive it yet.

 The FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) has approved two COVID-19 vaccines to be released to the public. One is the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the other is the Moderna vaccine. The United States vaccination program plans to have 100 million people vaccinated by April.

Whether or not people want to get the vaccine as of now is still up for debate. One editor said, “I am planning on getting the vaccine whenever it becomes available to me. The more who get vaccinated, the faster we can move on from this virus.”

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Extension of the Pass/Fail Grading System

default article imageAs we approach the third semester impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has decided to extend the pass/fail grading system for undergraduate students through May 14, 2021. This allows students to change standard letter grades (A through D-) to a “pass” grade at the end of the semester without affecting their GPA. Students can only use a “pass” grade for four credits this semester.

This grading system was introduced in the spring 2020 semester, when classes were shifted to online instruction following spring break.

As The Outlook reported in fall 2020, according to Monmouth’s Registrar Lynn Reynolds, the majority of the grades that were requested to be switched to a “pass” in the spring 2020 semester were in the C range with 775 pass requests, followed by B grades with 471 pass requests, D grades with 323 pass requests, and A grades with 26 pass requests.

“The decision to allow pass/fail grading takes into consideration the disruption to academics that COVID-19 and subsequent societal impacts have had, and it’s designed to provide options that we hope will relieve some stress,” the University outlined in its official reopening plan for 2020-2021. “We recognize that the learning environments in which students may find themselves during the continued pandemic may lead to students not working at their normal performance level.”

The Outlook editors weighed in on their thoughts about this grading system.

This option may help students’ GPA during the challenges of untraditional online classes. However, some editors believe that enough time has passed for students to have gotten used to online classes, and therefore the pass/fail option would not be necessary. “I think the pass/fail option should only pertain to first-year students since they haven’t been exposed to enough online schooling in a university setting,” one editor said.

First-year students have had to face multiple obstacles regarding online learning, as they may also be struggling with the general transition into college that includes making friends, getting connected on campus, and keeping up with academics.

Some editors said that they will consider utilizing the pass/fail grading system this semester depending on their performance in a certain class. “I have used it in the past to boost my GPA, but I do not foresee using it in the future,” one editor said. However, another editor said that they would not utilize this grading system, but recognizes that it may be beneficial for others.

Some students might not be able to fully utilize this option, however, such as those who will be applying to certain graduate schools that require letter grades or those who need to meet prerequisite requirements for their major.

One editor disagrees with the policy that the pass/fail grade can only be used for four credits this semester. “I find that only being able to use it for four credits is wrong, as most classes are three credits and someone may need it for more than one class,” the editor said. “It should be able to be used for as many classes as needed.”

Many editors agree that the pass/fail option should be eliminated once the University returns to full in-person instruction. For now, however, most editors agree that it is a necessary safety net for students who are struggling during the pandemic. The University made the right choice by extending this grading system for the spring 2021 semester.

 

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University

A Quarantine Christmas

default article imageAs the fall semester comes to an end, the Outlook editors discussed their plans for the holiday break and what they think will happen over time. There is no doubt that many holiday celebrations planned for this year will be impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

The majority of the editors will be spending their holiday with immediate family, and for many, the holidays will look much different this year. “As much as I would like to see other people such as my extended family and friends, there is always going to be risk involved in doing that,” said one editor.

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Monmouth's Spring Semester Plans

default article imageAs we approach the end of another semester affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, The Outlook editors discussed their opinions on the University’s plans for the spring semester. As announced by President Leahy via email on Nov. 20, these plans include the mix of in-person, hybrid, and online course delivery, the extension of winter break by one week, and the removal of a week-long spring break in replace of two “break days”—one in March and one in April.

The decision came just ten days before all classes, except labs, moved online after Thanksgiving Break for the remainder of the semester.

This spring semester will be the third semester affected by the pandemic, not including the online courses delivered during summer 2020. While some editors’ spring schedule is still to be determined, a few editors will have solely online classes. Most editors agree that the University made the right decision regarding course delivery in the spring semester.

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The Return of College Sports

default article imageWith the sports world around the globe being put on pause for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic; universities around the nation are beginning to bring back their athletic programs with unprecedented precautions.

Monmouth University has taken an integral role in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) athletic procedures heading into the winter season. They plan on proceeding with the winter sports season with limited in-conference schedules and no fans in attendance.

The Outlook continues to report on the constant updates regarding the current COVID-19 athletic conditions, and the editors shared their opinions on how these circumstances have been handled. Many of the editors believe that there is still major risk involved in bringing sports back to campus, but at the same time they agree that athletics are key to the current state of Monmouth.

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The Phenomenon of "Fake News"

default article imageThe phrase “fake news,” which refers to news stories that publish false information, has been used quite often on social media in recent years. As the student-run newspaper of Monmouth University, The Outlook editors discussed their views on the implications of “fake news.”

One editor said, “I think it is unbelievably dangerous for people, and especially the president, to claim our media is all ‘fake news.’ If we do not have the media as the fourth estate, then we have nothing as a country. Without the media, we are simply allowing a few elites to dictate our entire lives.”

“Fake news is out there but not all of the news is fake,” commented an editor. “The claims that people and the president have been making about fake news is dangerous.”

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Dear Mr. President

default article image2020 has been a year that has not only been infected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has also been plagued by race and social issues, a plummeting economy, and a global climate crisis. Throughout all of these struggles, 2020 presidential nominees President Donald J. Trump, and former Vice President Joe Biden have campaigned to become the next leader of the United States.

On Nov. 3, millions of Americans practiced their civic duty and cast their ballots to decide who will guide America to the light at the end of the dark tunnel that has been the year 2020.

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Voting in the Pandemic Election

default article imageWith the COVID-19 pandemic still in full force, it is safe to say that Nov. 3 is not going to be your typical Election Day.

Voting will look a little different this year. Every registered voter in New Jersey received a mail-in paper ballot with specific instructions that must be followed in order for the vote to count. New Jersey has eliminated in-person voting booths this year, except for people with disabilities, due to COVID-19 concerns. There have been many concerns about the possibilities of fraud in respect to mail-in ballots, as well.

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Virtual Club Involvement

default article imageThe University’s new COVID-19 protocols, which says that clubs must function virtually until Oct. 20, raises questions about club involvement on campus. Are students more or less inclined to join a club if all meetings are held virtually via Zoom meetings? The Outlook editors reflected on this question.

Many editors point out the difficulty of meeting virtually. “I think it is difficult for members to collaborate well over Zoom,” one editor pointed out. “I am always afraid I am going to talk over or interrupt someone else, so I am hesitant to speak up on Zoom.”

Another editor agreed, “I do not like virtual club meetings because I do not feel like I am as connected or involved when it is virtual.” However, this editor said that they will attend virtual meetings if it is the only option being offered, in order to stay involved on campus.

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Contact Information

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Monmouth University
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07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
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