Course modality, BeaconFlex, and remote classes

Logo for Zoom, the internet chat application.

 As a commuter school, most students that attend UMass Boston commute by either bus, car or subway. As the COVID pandemic continues to subside, UMass Boston has made its way to transition from remote learning to in-person learning with in-person classes, research labs, the OATS tutoring center, clubs and activities. However, as some of you may have noticed, remote and beaconflex classes are still continuing to be offered despite the pandemic coming to an end. This fall, the majority of classes at UMass Boston are now in-person. Beaconflex classes give students the freedom to choose to either attend class through Zoom on their laptop or in-person from the convenience of their home. Personally, I really like the beaconflex and remote classes. I usually commute to college which I don’t enjoy. 


Is remote learning making education more accessible? With remote classes, it’s very convenient because it saves a lot of commuting time. From many of my friends I’ve asked, they really like remote and beaconflex classes as well. It gives students the option to see what works best with their schedule. This way, students can take a remote class and then do their remote internship. The benefit of having flexible classes is being able to make time to work, take the classes that you want and become successful. 


Without this flexibility, it’s hard for students to finish their requirements. I believe that it’s fair for all students to be allowed to choose whether they want to come to class in-person or remotely. That way, our students can stay safe at home. Oftentimes, some of the in-person classes are offered in the evening which makes it hard for students to be able to commute very late at night. If these classes are offered remotely or through the beaconflex course modality, it would give students the opportunity to attend class without coming home so late. For example, if the in-person classes I want to take are being offered on all different days, then I would likely choose to hold-off on some of those classes. Instead, I would take a few of those next semester so I wouldn’t have to commute five days a week. Remote classes can be less stressful because full-time students are required to take 12+ credits. If one class is remote, they can finish in two or three days rather than commuting five days a week. 


Everyone has a different way of learning. While some students got used to remote learning and preferred it over in-person, others could not wait to go back in-person. Beaconflex and remote classes give students flexibility. There are many differences between in-person and remote learning in terms of engagement, participation, etc. We should accommodate everyone's needs. Many students have a jam-packed schedule with five classes in just two days a week. Overall, it’s not very healthy and it can be extremely stressful. 


As a person who isn’t comfortable with giving presentations and having in-class discussions, remote classes are slowly helping me overcome this fear. I remember at the very beginning of the pandemic, I used to use the chat function on Zoom to participate in most of my classes. However, as time went on, I began to feel comfortable unmuting my mic and speaking to voice my opinion. Remote and beaconflex classes should definitely stay, even after the pandemic!


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