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Maintaining the Balance



I’m a professor, so while I’m hearing my daughter complain about her online classes I have to schedule my own. I’m trying to make sure that the course is still engaging and that the assignments are mostly cheat-proof, but it’s difficult, and I worry about some of my students.

Lots of them have concerns about their grades in the class, and it’s unfair to those who do not cheat, but there’s also only so much we can do. We still have letter grades, but I’m not sure how they will turn out. For our final exam, we had to have a zoom setup with all 300 of the students in the class to discourage cheating. The students had to put up a side view of them taking the exam. It doesn’t always feel productive to do things like this, but what is the other option?

Also, for my students who have difficulty concentrating in a live class, I wonder how having to attend zoom call or watch a video is affecting them instead. A few of them have been in contact with me, so I hope that I can accommodate their worries. There is pressure from and on the school to continue the original programme for this class, especially since it’s a second year introduction to a more specialized field, computer networking. I wonder how to balance not wanting to stress my students out more, while also preparing them for their third year classes.

Furthermore, I usually work with my postgraduate PhD students in a lab where we conduct research and do weekly group meetings to check in with everyone. Luckily, because I work in computer science, many of them can and still do work and research from home, but it is more difficult to stay on the same page and work together on projects. In addition, because my meetings are scheduled at different times every week with people all around the world, they’re difficult to keep track of. More often than not, someone is up at a strange time.

With all that said, the cases here in Singapore haven’t been below 500 per day for a while, so my first priority is staying safe and making sure that we’re all okay. Now more than ever, we’re coming to realize what is really essential, and what is not. I just hope that all the students right now are making sure that they’re healthy first and foremost, even though their education is also important. We as faculty know how much more difficult and stressful it can be right now, and we are here to support you.


—Jean



Written by: Michelle Zimmermann


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