This has been a semester to remember. Because of the self-isolation required to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak, faculty and IT staff at UW-Madison sprinted to adjust their courses to an online format over the spring break period. During those six days, our faculty converted 90% of their courses to an online format so that students could finish their semesters. As such, applied projects, core teams, consulting (formerly known as ICA) presentations, job interviews, Ted Talks discussions, and student organizations all met virtually. Even TAPS (Thursdays After Professional Studies) met virtually!
The Strategic HR (SHR) students were asked how things were going while they were in the midst of the online format. I have combined their responses into the following letter from them to our alumni.
Welcome to Zoom/Hangout Land!
We are moving along in the semester and while I am glad to be able to connect with my classmates online, I miss being in the classroom and Grainger! Finishing up the semester online has been a rollercoaster. It takes me far too long to complete tasks that I know would get done quickly if I had the help of a breakout room. I am also sad that we are missing time with peers. Before the crisis, I was feeling like I enjoyed everything about student life and being in this fast-paced world, and now that has come to a halt.
While I can recognize these feelings as a natural part of going through a shared crisis, I am also really hopeful for the future. I’m hopeful for our first in-person class in the fall. I am excited for a tailgate, a football game in Camp Randall, and jumping around with thousands of students. I am looking forward to epic TAPs and sitting out at the Terrace. (I do this mental run down about once a day and it makes me feel a little happier.)
Switching from in-class to online learning has definitely taught me a lot about myself and how I learn best. It has helped me further develop my organization and time management skills. It has been a challenge, to be sure, but all of our instructors have adjusted quickly and compassionately to this new world to ensure that we still receive an excellent education. I know that this will be a beneficial learning experience for us as we move forward in our business careers. We went from no electronics in the classroom to electronics being our classroom. That is the beauty of the business world: being able to pivot.
We are sending all of our alumni and friends many healthy and safe wishes. On, Wisconsin!
The Classes of 2020 and 2021
Linda Barrett is the Assistant Director of the Strategic Human Resource Management Center.