YSU professors talk challenges, rewards of online learning


Youngstown State managed to transition all of its 2,700 spring classes online in 13 days

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown State managed to transition all of its 2,700 spring classes online in 13 days. We talked to two professors who had to change the way they teach in the middle of the semester.

Dr. Amy Crawford is a professor of communication, teaching video production and broadcast news.

“I teach a studio production class and my first instinct was, ‘How am I going to do this?'”

Danielle Class is a professor of nursing.

“This has been a really great adventure,” she said.

Class has small groups, about ten students, so she still holds online classes at their regular times through a program called Blackboard Collaborate.

One of them does hands-on clinical work.

“You can never replace the actual hands-on learning,” Class said.

But YSU’s school of nursing is doing what it can.

“We’re using as many alternative technologies as we can. Interactive videos, case studies, simulations and virtual reality to continue the education process for our students,” Class said.

One of Crawford’s classes was just getting ready to produce a newscast.

“What I’m trying to do is really go in the writing side of it,” she said. “So I have them still create, still write their newscast but we’re not actually able to go out and produce it. But in another class that I’m teaching, I am having them create some education videos just using mobile devices and the technology they have at home.”

She said it doesn’t replace what they do in the studio.

“We did have to do a bit of a pivot and that’s not really ideal, but I think we’re all just trying to do the best with what we have.”

“This has definitely been a learning curve for all of us,” Class said. “I’m happy that I’ve gotten the opportunity to take part in something as technological as this has been and to be able to contribute to that.”

Should classroom learning be limited for a while, Class expects YSU’s school of nursing to be innovators in online learning — finding better ways to get it done.

Crawford said if this goes into the fall, she would want her students to have the technology for quality productions and focus more on group projects.

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