Just before 4 p.m. last Friday, March. 13, UW-Platteville students and staff received an “All-UW-Platteville” campus e-mail stating that classes would be cancelled for the following week and extending spring break from March 13-29.
“With both the United States government and the State of Wisconsin declaring health emergencies because of COVID-19, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville is canceling next week’s classes,” stated the e-mail. It followed an announcement from earlier in the week that classes after spring break would switch to on-line format through the end of April break, or April 14. A recent update email has now extended online classes to through the end of the semester.
More than a few students have expressed concerns, particularly about internships and classes involving labs.
“How are we going to do chemistry exams on-line?” asked senior chemistry major Sage Orlowski in a discussion last Wednesday in her newswriting class.
Sophomore Dairy Science major Anna Evenson added that this was also a problem for many agriculture classes.
Last Monday and Tuesday, the university’s Teaching Technology Center (TTC) with help from the Distance Learning Center provided training for any faculty who wanted help with the transition to “alternative delivery” or on-line classes. The training focused on better-utilizing Canvas and how to use on-line discussion software such as Zoom.
“The training session I went to was extremely helpful,” said English Professor Dr. Laura Wendorff. “One of the staff sat down next to me, I told her specifically what I wanted to do, and she showed me how, giving me several options. The thing that was the most helpful was that I told staff members some of my general principles, like ‘I need students with limited WiFi to be able to access the class’ and they would say, ‘Okay, then do it this way.’”
In an e-mail to all faculty and staff last Saturday, Provost Joanne Wilson reminded instructors that, “Because this upcoming week is part of an extended spring break, no assignments or tests can be due. Students are officially on break for the next two weeks.”