Staying on track in the snow

How snow closures could impact the rest of the semester


Elijah Lossner, Sports Editor

After a week of almost no classes, attention turns to how students and faculty deal with the loss of class time and staying on track.

What strategies do professors use in these situations? And how much responsibility is on the students to fulfill their end of the bargain?

It isn’t just up to the administration to decide the fate of classes in the event of bad weather. Professors can also decide themselves to cancel a class. In fact, professors have most of the power over how they handle these situations. The administration has echoed that very thought.

Chancellor Ray Wallace said, “The faculty are professionals and they are the best judge on how to catch up on missed work.”

Veronica Medina , associate professor of sociology, decided to cancel her Wednesday class before the announcement that told faculty and students campus would be closing at 5 p.m.

“I knew that there were probably still some surrounding areas that had not been cleared. So I rescheduled the exam, which turned out to be a good thing,” Medina said. “Campus closed at five, so for me it was a good move, because we would have had to end the test early and also risk jeopardizing their commute.”

Medina also talked about her strategies of handling a snow week and admitted that it didn’t really affect her classes that much at all. All of her classes utilize canvas and she thinks that the announcement feature is really useful as well as the interactive calendar that allows professors to easily change due dates for homework and exams through canvas.

Does that mean students will automatically check their canvas announcements?

Medina said that she gave her students an assignment at the beginning of the semester to change their notification settings by either adding a cell phone number or an alternate email address.

Canvas can be a good tool for students to keep up with their assignments during a snow week, but what about attendance policies and students that commute from more rural areas? These policies are obviously different with every professor. Medina admits that she does give points for showing up for each class.

“Theoretically they would lose points,” Medina said. “But I have a lot of extra credit opportunities along the way, so they can make up for it that way. I think it’s fair.”

Medina is a traditional professor who teaches in a classroom, but with the increasing popularity in online classes, how might the snow week affect those students.

Assistant professor of Marketing, Casey Musgrove has had literally no problems with any of her online classes.

“I haven’t had a single question or email from any student in my online classes,” Musgrove said.

She also teaches a hybrid class, Consumer behavior. A hybrid class meets on campus sometimes and the rest is all online. In this case, her class meets once a week on Thursday.

Classes were cancelled Thursday, so Musgrove said she went online and created a modified version of the material that would have been covered in class.

“I think we are pretty lucky to have the internet so we can keep up and not get too far behind,” Musgrove said.

But not all classes can be taught over the Internet. Beth Rueschhoff, assistant professor of Biology, had arranged for a classroom experiment. But due to the snow day she had to cancel it.

“Its a two-day procedure for me. The class participation was on Monday so I had to come in on Saturday and Sunday to set up the experiment for everybody,” said Rueschhoff.

And because these experiments involved living plants, there was no way to stall the growth which meant Rueschhoff had to carry out the experiment by herself to salvage something from the snow days.

Rueschhoff also said that the snow days have also disrupted her collaborations with other colleges.

“We are collaborating with a sister school in Maryland,” said Rueschhoff. “So now our snow storm has impacted Maryland’s schedule. Because we have to reset the experiment which is all very annoying.”

But if students are wondering about make-up days, this quote is from the Chancellor: “We are not doing classes over spring break,” Wallace said. “This is not high school where we have to make up lost days.