A challenging semester for professors

Quinnipiac professors said hybrid learning was difficult for them

Lexi Pepe, Contributing Writer

Quinnipiac University professors said they found “Q-Flex,”the university’s hybrid model, challenging, yet they still powered through the majority of the fall 2020 semester. 

Professor Stephen Straub, chair of rehabilitation, health and wellness, said this semester has been awesome, and he is excited for what the spring semester entails with the new lecture and hybrid model classes. New lecture- only classes give students a chance to be in class more often than hybrid model classes.

Connor Lawless

“Students who are on ground are going to have a much higher rate being in the classroom,” Straub said. “It’s still not going to be 100%, but it will definitely be better than what we did in the fall.”

Straub and other professors want to provide their students with the best possible experience during virtual and hybrid learning. As a result, some even spend their own money on technology to accommodate, while others go out of their way to meet with students outside of their office hours.

“In my experience so far, my students are in the classroom so I am very excited about that, and they seem very happy to be there and it gives us that opportunity to connect,” Straub said.

COVID-19 has impacted students and professors alike, which has affected how prepared students are.

Straub mentioned that when students take advantage of waking up late and not participating in a discussion, it essentially makes more work for the student and their professor. 

“It is so hard for students to separate from home and school,” Straub said. “When you have an 8 o’clock class that still means you get up at 7 o’clock. You take a shower, you get your breakfast, and you get yourself organized and then you’re at your desk at five of eight opposed to many college students who now wake up at five of eight. As a student, you have to prepare yourself exactly as you did before COVID-19.”


Quinnipiac restricts how many students can be in a professor’s office due to the hybrid model. Typically, professors can only meet with one student at a time in person, which is why virtual office hours are the “way to go when seeking extra help,” Straub said. 

At the start of the fall 2020 semester, professors arranged free times, accommodating their students and themselves. These free times are also known as office hours. During office hours, students are allowed to ask questions about homework, seek extra help or even chat.

“Just come in and be prepared … Even if you just want to come in and chat, if we know that upfront, so we can prepare for it, it makes it a little bit easier,” Straub said.

If students can’t attend office hours, they can send an email and a time can be scheduled to meet when it is most convenient for both. Straub said professors notice when extra effort is being put in by their students and when students are doing the bare minimum. 

“Everyone is still trying to find the groove of virtual learning/Q-Flex.” Straub said.

Professors have their own way of teaching like some students have their own way of studying.

“I learn best through writing things down,” said Isabella Matachun, a first-year finance student. “I don’t find it difficult taking notes and watching the class … The only class I would say I have trouble in is math because we use Excel. Switching from Excel to Zoom while trying to keep up with the teachers pace is hard.”

Straub has also mentioned a successful way for students to learn on their laptops and TV. 

“Hook your laptop up to your TV with a simple HDMI cable then you can watch your presentation, watch your class on the TV,” Straub said. “First of all, it’s bigger. You can probably hear better using TV speakers. Then, you can directly take notes on your computer.”

Since last spring, pressure has been on professors to make virtual learning enjoyable. Many classes can differ based on rules that the professor enforces. 

“Some classes have an instant bond with one another, prompting for more conversation while other classes can be more quiet,” said Marissa McKinely, an English professor. 

Mckinley discussed how she enjoys interacting with her students and how virtual learning has its faults.

“It can be like pulling teeth trying to get a response from some of my classes,” McKinley said. “When you are a teacher online, you are more or so an entertainer.”

 McKinley went further in depth saying how before COVID-19, when everyone was in person, professors still tried to engage with their classes, but it is more challenging to do so online.

“I don’t like to call on people because that isn’t how I like to teach but what do you do? If no one is responding, what do you do?” McKinley said. “I want people to realize if you participate it makes the class so much more enjoyable. I can’t carry the load all by myself.”

Professors such as Straub understand if students are going through a bad day or having technical difficulties, requiring them to keep their cameras off.

“My students, I tell them I expect their cameras to be on, so I want to be able to see them,” Straub said, “But I’ve also told them if they’re having a bad day or can’t have their camera on, if they have a good reason they don’t want to turn their camera on, they don’t even have to ask my permission. They just have to let me know.” 

While McKinley does not require cameras on, she strongly suggested students do in order to bring some normalcy online.

“Some students, I’ve never seen their faces so on campus if they said hi, I would never know who they were because I don’t have a face to connect with,” McKinley said. “And that’s really sad in a way.”