The Virtual Classroom Experience
Any other year, NC State Poole College of Management students would be studying for finals, preparing for summer internship interviews and seniors would be looking forward to their graduation ceremony in May. However, the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic has transitioned bustling Nelson Hall to a virtual Zoom classroom environment.
Discovering New Resources
NC State students have put “Think and Do” to the test as they altered their semester plans to continue their academic career from the comfort and safety of their homes. This meant learning how to work remotely efficiently, transitioning final projects to a virtual format and interviewing for their internships over the computer.
“I am the type of person that has to be in a classroom environment to learn, but learning through online lectures and classes has taught me how to adjust my studying,” said George Shara, a junior majoring in accounting.
Like many other students, Shara has also had to adjust his summer internship plans with the help of the Poole College Career Center. He and a Jane Mehringer, associate director of the career center, prepped for upcoming interviews that were originally scheduled to be in-person and assisted him in deciding among many offers.
I have friends who have lost internships for the summer, but the Career Center is a great resource to find alternative opportunities.
-George Shara, junior
Poole students are also utilizing different technologies to finish projects and practicum courses. Senior Michael Bissel’s MIE 419 project group is taking advantage of online resources to complete their work for Capital Associates, a full-service commercial real estate company.
“Originally, we were physically going out and scouting properties for a new development opportunity in person, but COVID-19 but a dent in that plan,” said Bissel. Therefore, we have been using many online databases and Google maps to get as close to an ‘in person’ view as we can get.”
Students aren’t the only ones transitioning to virtual classrooms. NC State faculty are also adjusting themselves and their scheduled classes online.
Paul Mulvey, professor of human resource management, sees the change as a benefit to students to learn how to be flexible in the workplace.
“With this rapid change, the students are getting used to some level of ambiguity,” said Mulvey. “I think it’s really been a good thing for them to experience it while they’re in school because certainly the working world is going to be this volatile, uncertain place.”
Faculty members like Mulvey are having to find new, innovative ways for students to complete final projects and exams. Mulvey’s practicum course was unable to meet with their partner company to present their final analyses of datasets in person, but the executive members were able to schedule presentations via Zoom.
Professors have been great. It truly helps to have that support from faculty and I certainly do not take it for granted!
-Michael Bissel, senior
The biggest piece of advice for NC State students is to treat this final exam season like normal and find ways stay positive during this uncertain, stressful time.
“Understanding that it is not just students, but faculty and employers are just as new to this situation as us,” said Shara. “They’re accepting it and they’re being more flexible and learning new ways to communicate.”