Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 — Houston, TX

Be patient with each other as we adjust to in-person classes


By Nayeli Shad     9/7/21 10:47pm

This week, we transition to (mostly) in person instruction after one and a half years of largely doing classes online. Half of the undergraduate population at Rice has never experienced traditional in-person classes here, and for the other half, that experience is a distant memory. 

The same can be said for instructors who had to adopt a completely new method of teaching and now are trying to mix the two. Just as we had to adjust to online classes, we must adjust to in-person instruction after such a long time without it. Students and professors alike must be understanding of the challenges each face in this new chapter and continue to be flexible with one another.

In-person classes at Rice are unfamiliar for some students and distant for others, but can be daunting for all this semester. Freshmen have varied experiences in terms of the delivery method of classes in their senior year of high school, and all went through two weeks of online classes at Rice and may have many large classes still online. Sophomores had a year of online classes with few dual delivery ones. Juniors and seniors have spent just as much if not more time online than in person, and getting back into the old way of teaching will surely take some adjusting.

Professors must be understanding and flexible in how they run their classes for the next few weeks. It may be difficult for students to manage all of their in-person responsibilities and continue to keep up with deadlines. Professors should be more lenient with deadlines and granting extensions as students navigate the different workload associated with in-person classes.

Another important factor to consider is graded participation. There is no longer the Zoom chat or “raise hand” feature to make it easier for students to participate. Being in a physical classroom with up to 50 — or possibly more — students can be intimidating. Instructors who do employ graded participation should weigh the next few weeks far less, if not completely disregard this week when counting participation points.

At the same time, we as students must understand that instructors are transitioning as well: to dual delivery. Dual delivery is a new concept for many, one that our editorial board encouraged instructors to adopt given its accessibility, especially as COVID-19 continues to affect students. Many professors taught solely online rather than dual delivery last year, as the maximum class size was 25 in the fall 2020 semester and 40 in spring 2021. Now it is 50, with some classes having more students than that given that larger classes have petitioned to be in person. 

For professors who choose to do so, keeping accessibility in mind while also trying to deliver the in-person instruction they desire may be difficult to navigate, and students should be patient as professors try to handle in-person and online components of the class all at once. This is especially true for students who will be attending class online synchronously or watching recorded lectures later. Be mindful that it may be difficult for professors to set up a Zoom while in the classroom and remember to check in on online students while teaching, or to get lectures posted in a timely manner while having in-person responsibilities to juggle.

Let’s be excited about this new start but bring with us the flexibility we’ve exhibited throughout the pandemic. Through patience and consideration, we as an academic community can make the transition back to in-person instruction productive and successful.

More from The Rice Thresher

OPINION 5/12/22 4:05pm
The Wellbeing Center should be transparent about its true confidentiality policies

Before you attend a counseling session at the Rice counseling center, you will be told that “the RCC maintains strict standards regarding privacy.” You will find statements from the university that your mental health record will not be shared with anyone outside of extreme situations of imminent harm, and only then that your information will be shared with only the necessary officials. This sounds great, except that these assurances bear no teeth whatsoever — no enforcement agency ensures that Rice follows its public confidentiality promises, and there are no penalties for Rice if they break them. The Wellbeing and Counseling Centers should more directly communicate the limits of their confidentiality policies when compared to unaffiliated counseling centers, and students in sensitive situations should take the necessary precautions to protect their information.

OPINION 4/19/22 11:11pm
We’re in student media to learn

This week marks the last issue of the Thresher for the year, and for the seniors like myself, our last issue ever. I have been a part of the Thresher since freshman year. And it would not be an exaggeration to say it has defined my Rice experience. As someone pursuing a career in journalism after graduation, there has been no better place to learn than at this paper.

OPINION 4/19/22 11:02pm
Philanthropy doesn’t excuse slavery

In January, the Rice Board of Trustees announced plans to move the Founder’s memorial to another area of the academic quad as part of a whole redesign, adding additional context of his “entanglement” with slavery. This comes despite continual calls from the student body to not have the enslaver displayed in the quad regardless of the context provided. It would be just for these calls to action and the majority of the Task Force Committee who voted to not keep it there that the Board of Trustees decide to not keep the memorial prominently displayed in the quad at all.


Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.