Temple students plan classes for hybrid spring semester

Temple plans to hold some classes in person next semester with mostly online options.

Liam Smith, a junior Spanish major, sits along Polett Walk outside of Charles Library on Nov. 16. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Liam Smith woke up yesterday at 7 a.m. to schedule his spring semester classes only to have the website crash, he said.

“I didn’t sign up for my classes until like 7:45,” said Smith, a junior Spanish major. “I was really like on my laptop for 45 minutes which usually isn’t the case.”

Priority registration opened yesterday for students after Temple University announced on Nov. 2 they will hold a mix of in-person and online courses for the Spring 2021 semester. As students plan their schedules for next semester, some are hopeful to return to in-person classes, while others look to continue with online classes for safety reasons.

Smith doesn’t have any in-person classes scheduled for the spring semester, and he is taking more asynchronous classes than this semester because he is worried about his health, he said. 

“If there were only like a couple students plus a professor in it and it was in one of the larger lecture halls, then probably I would feel fine like staying in person or like a hybrid class,” Smith added. “But with the spike in cases in Philadelphia, I honestly feel more comfortable online now.”

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the city, Philadelphia banned indoor dining and indoor gatherings with people from different households from Nov. 20 until Jan. 1, 2021, The Temple News reported.

On Nov. 2, Temple opened the Spring 2021 course catalog, pushed priority registration to Nov. 16 and announced the spring semester would begin on Jan. 19, The Temple News reported.

Priority registration this semester was delayed because the university wanted to ensure decisions for spring classes would be sustainable, said Raymond Betzner, a spokesperson for the university. 

“We’re sitting here in late October, early November and trying to figure out what the world is going to look like in January,” Betzner said. “If there are any lessons that we’ve learned from COVID, it’s that you can work really hard, you can put in some great plans, but then sometimes, you have to alter these plans.”

Samantha Padilla had to rearrange her schedule after being waitlisted for a general education course on Monday morning because the website wouldn’t load, she said.

Padilla, a sophomore health professions major, opted for asynchronous and online classes because she is worried about the increase in COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia, she added. 

“I do miss the kind of in-person contact, but I think for next semester, considering how crazy these cases are getting, I think I definitely prefer them online,” Padilla said.

The university is unsure how many in-person courses will be held in the spring semester. If in-person classes have more student interest, Temple will open more sections of the courses, Betzner said. 

“It’s how students want to learn, how students want to be involved and interact, whether they want to be in person on campus or whether they want to continue largely an online experience,” he added.

The decision to hold in-person or virtual classes for the spring semester was largely left up to the schools and colleges, Betzner said. Schools like the Tyler School of Art and Architecture and the College of Public Health will likely have more in-person operations because art courses and clinicals require hands-on learning, he added.

Amelia D’Andrea, a junior recreational therapy major, said she is unsure of how the spring semester will look because she has a dance minor and will need to take those classes in person.

This semester, she is taking a class focused on the history of dance that doesn’t require physical movement, so it transitioned to online, she said. But in the spring, she needs to take a class to learn dance production, which will require in-person meetings. 

“There is one class I did want to take next semester and I don’t know how it’s not going to be in person,” D’Andrea said. “Right now I think that’s actually in person. It’s like a very small class.”

Courses will continue to be held in buildings with larger rooms, like Paley Hall and the Howard Gittis Student Center, to ensure students are at least six feet apart from each other and their professor, Betzner said.

Emma Paige, a freshman early childhood education major, made two schedules before priority registration on Monday: one with in-person classes and the other with mostly online options, she said. 

She ended up scheduling mostly online, asynchronous classes after deciding she enjoys the freedom asynchronous learning gives her to complete lessons, she said. The only in-person class she plans to take is band. 

“I was looking for as much asynchronous as possible because now I just have class on Tuesdays and then whenever they put band,” Paige added. “That worked out well for me and I’ll be here on campus no matter what.”

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