Due to the spread of COVID-19, Otterbein suspended on-campus classes and events for the remainder of the spring semester.
As the virus quickly spread around the country within the next few weeks, more and more universities were forced to close down their campuses. This resulted in most students having to finish out the school year through online coursework.
Otterbein students meet virtually with their class and professor on a webcam via Zoom or Blackboard Ultra. Most classes meet during their scheduled class period time, and some classes are given work at the beginning of each weak with a deadline on when to complete the work. “Teachers have really made it an easy transition during these crazy times. My professors have been very responsive through email," said Eddie Anders, a junior journalism and media communication major. "The hardest part for me at first was just getting organized. Once I got all the information sorted out from each class it’s been smooth sailing."
The transition to online coursework has also been a new experience for most professors at Otterbein. The sudden cancellation of classes forced professors to alter their lesson plans and cut back on assignments and tests that were planned before the pandemic began. "I still much prefer in-person teaching, but doing online classes isn’t as daunting as I thought it would be," said Otterbein health and sports science professor, Dr. Kristy McCray. "This has also been a great exercise in patience and slowing down, which is a needed lesson for me."
Spontaneous conversations about course topics and being physically present with her students is what McCray misses most about being in class on campus. McCray teaches three classes on campus and interacts with a lot of students. “Many [students] have new/different responsibilities, which can make online learning a challenge, but most students are rising to the occasion and impressing me”, said McCray.
The Ohio Athletic Conference also had to make changes due to COVID-19, and this involved cancelled the rest of the winter and spring athletic seasons. Winter athletic teams were just finishing their season as spring athletics were just getting started.
Otterbein’s men’s basketball team had just finished their season, but for head coach Andy Winters, his job is never ending. When the season ended, Winters focused his attention on recruiting and preparing for his second season as head coach. Since all high school athletic events were also cancelled or postponed, Winters was not able to see some of the recruits finish out their senior season. Winters has kept up with the recruits during these times through phone calls and FaceTime. For the recruits that have not yet visited campus, Winters has been trying virtual tours in addition to maintaining contact with the recruits. Like McCray, Winters misses the interactions with his co-workers, student-athletes and other faculty on campus.
Winters said this situation has made him learn to not take anything for granted. The quick turn of events in the past few weeks have been a lot for the Otterbein community. It is encouraged that everyone stays safe at home and avoids interactions with large groups of people.