The coronavirus has changed essentially every aspect of our lives, and this semester has not been easy by any means.

Mount St. Joseph News


The coronavirus has changed essentially every aspect of our lives, and this semester has not been easy by any means. Even when it feels like things have gotten better, there may still be some barriers that keep you from reaching your full potential.


A few weeks ago, the Office of the Provost and the Student Government Association sent out a survey for students regarding the In*Sync learning model the University has begun using. There was approximately a 48% response rate from all students--graduate and undergraduate, who voiced their opinions on what has been working well and what aspects still need improvement. Many student responses were consistent with what has been working well for them and what has not.


Dr. Christa Currie, Associate Provost of Academic Affairs, took on the task of reading through every response, all 129 pages of feedback.


“Occasionally I’ll get a comment in here that says ‘I don’t even know if anybody is looking at this,’” she says. “I’m looking at it, I promise, all 129 pages and I read them all because your voice matters, and if something is getting in the way of your success you should let it be known.”


For the most part, according to Currie, what has been working well for students is the flexibility that Zoom lectures allow; students can better map out weekly schedules and do classwork on their own time. Students report that recorded lectures have been beneficial this semester, and that having no commute allows for more time.


The shift from in-person classes to the In*Sync model has not been universally easy for students or professors. Still, most students felt that faculty members were doing the best job they could, given the circumstances. Students reported that 89% of their professors have been accessible to provide feedback and other assistance.


At the same time, some things have been a struggle, she says. While Zoom is a nice way to meet virtually, some challenges come with it. There is no personal contact. It can be challenging to make a personal connection with peers and professors, resulting in less interaction and making it more challenging to ask questions. Some students have reported difficulty in staying organized. Students have reported feeling that the In*Sync model is more work than a face-to-face class.


“There’s this thing that happens with online classes, it’s called ‘the class and a half syndrome,’” says Currie.  “Since you can put everything online you tend to add more to it, and that is something we are constantly talking to faculty about: to make sure they are covering the same kind of content they would have covered in the face-to-face class and not adding to it.”


Students also mentioned technology issues. Currie said that if issues were specific enough, she could help solve them, but since this survey was anonymous, it can be a difficult task to solve every problem. She encourages students having technology issues to reach out to ISS, who can help them.


An aspect of In*Sync classes that can be difficult to deal with is what Currie refers to as “COVID-Life”: many students reported difficulty in finding a balance between school work and other responsibilities that people face day to day, such as work and finances, as well as feeling isolated and lacking motivation.


Currie reminds students that there are services available for them online through the Wellness Center; Lions.Health is a 24/7 Telehealth service for students, allowing them to be quickly connected with a professional to discuss anything from general stress and anxiety to critical situations.


As we move into finals week and onto the next semester, please remember to take time for yourself, be around those you love, and do activities you enjoy. Your health and well-being is the most important thing.


Students needing assistance in any way can contact the Wellness Center to make an appointment at (513)244-4949 or can access Lions.Health at For technology help, contact ISS via phone at (513)244-4357 or email