Students are taking their finals online as a result of COVID-19

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash.

By: Jordan Coll / Asst. News Director

What will finals look like this semester? That’s what many students are left wondering as the university has taken a virtual stance in having classes fully online during an unprecedented time.

As students make it through the fourth week of learning and working from home, FIU has had to make accommodations in how they will be dealing with this academic year. With finals just right around the corner, students will find themselves taking their finals this semester fully online.

Professors such as Jainendra Navlakha who teaches a course on Database Management has decided to cancel the final exam for his class.

According to an email sent out to his students “in light of all the difficulties that various students have been telling me, I have decided to do the following: there will be no final exam and I will assign you grades based on your work in the assignments and mid-term 1.”

“It is not the same,” said Gabriel Perez, a sophomore majoring in Computer Science. 

“Being online has made it more difficult for us, most of the work we do is in groups so this has actually kind of hindered us. Online learning has not really helped in that sense because it’s more difficult to ask your professor questions and explain your questions to them through email or via Zoom,” said Perez.

Professors have had to act quickly in learning how to use basic online platforms such as Canvas or Zoom to reach out to their students.

Having finals online doesn’t necessarily mean that students are off the hook at home, especially when it comes to STEM majors. 

This semester has led professors to figure out more inventive ways to conduct their final exams.

“I found out today that for my final I had to not only have my camera on but I also had to do a 360 scan recording of my room, which I find to be an invasion of privacy,” said Maria Chiang, a Junior majoring in Bioengineering. 

In her class on Engineering Analysis of Biological Systems, she is required to use a program called MATLAB, a software program intended to create simulations on how systems generally work.

“I think we are right now in a very difficult position because suddenly we have the reality of online in front of us,” said Leonardo Ferreira, a professor in International Communication and Director of International Programs at the FIU School of Communication and Journalism.

Just like Ferreria many professors have had to take this time to learn how to essentially teach and communicate to students through an online interface. Currently, he is teaching a course on Law and Ethics which his final will comprise of a Socratic form of debate through discussion posts.

“I try to find a more interpretive answer,” said Ferreria as this will be his criteria in grading the final exam for his students.

“We are living in a time unlike any other in terms of education,” said Ferreira. 

In this time students find themselves using remote learning and social distancing as the new standard of normalcy.

“I wasn’t alone in this, I was one of those professors who did not believe that fully online education was part of the face to face education,” said Ferreria.

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