C.S.U.F. professors have little time to adjust to new virtual reality amid coronavirus fears
Dr. Matthew Kirby
March 18, 2020
Geology professor Matthew Kirby had a surprisingly good experience with his first online course.
He told the 120 students in his physical geology lecture class at Cal State Fullerton that if they showed up on Friday he would share the specifics of taking virtual classes — something he was still figuring out himself — in preparation for the phased-in transition to online teaching that began this week as a way to halt the spread of the new coronavirus.
Only 30 students made it to campus for the class — the rest viewed it online with Zoom. But at the end, no students reported having any problems, Kirby said.
“They were helping me,” he said. “I had more students talk to me in class and virtually than I have had in the entire semester. They were saying, ‘Hey, Kirby, this is how you do it.’ It was really cool.”
For the last several weeks, professors and lecturers at C.S.U.F. have been getting instruction and software to help them transition their classes online. Last week the university announced that online classes would be required, starting Tuesday, with test runs and time to smooth out any glitches. On March 25, the school officially goes online only.
For some faculty members, the sudden transition has been stressful — not only have they had to adjust to a new way of teaching but they had to translate the lessons for all of their classes into the online tools in a matter of days.