COVID-19: A lesson on compassion and innovation

By Brandon Cooper —

It goes without saying that the the everpresent outbreak of COVID-19 has shaken up everyone’s lives in one way or another.

Despite all of the craziness and hysteria ensuing every day, one thing stays the same: the bold compassion and determination of U of L students, faculty, staff and family.

There is no denying the abrupt and total transition to online learning for all courses was overwhelming for all parties involved. However, the compassionate approach to this transition by university administrators and educators has significantly weakened the blow to this huge obstacle for many students’ academic achievement.

Professors have empathized with their students by expanding their flexibility on deadlines, extending additional resources and implementing an abundance of innovative digital learning resources. This kind of compassion and pure niceness is not universal at all universities across the country, so U of L students are extremely lucky to have understanding professors that recognize the stressfulness of this unique situation.

Jasmine Farrier, professor & chair of political science, said she would accept any form of a written assignment from a student that has difficulties obtaining computer and internet access away from their campus home. “Even by text,” she said.

Farrier also encourages students to communicate with their instructors, emphasizing the importance of students consistently advocating for their personal needs during this time. She said, “If we can help, we will – and quickly.”

The coronavirus has brought to light various opportunities available for digital education resources.

Looking forward, these resources should not be viewed as back-up plans, but rather resources that can expand the great opportunities and accessibility that U of L has to offer to a larger population.

In order to incorporate the new-found resources into ordinary use, costs need to be evaluated for online instruction provided by the university. For a regular semester without a global health pandemic, online courses are charged at a higher rate of tuition than the in-person classes.

Yet, when in-person classes were canceled, these same courses were provided online to students without increased tuition rates. 

The compassion and understanding toward students that the university’s employees are showing in the face of this pandemic is fantastic.

However, the university proved there is no reason for online courses to be more expensive besides the fact that it will generate more revenue. While desperate times call for desperate measures, U of L should make online courses more affordable even without a virus outbreak forcing them to.

Although COVID-19 has been a bump in the road, compassionate and student-centric approaches to accessibility will light the path to universal success going forward. 

Expanding the resource options and increasing the use of such, while also engaging in compassion and empathy driven instructional attitudes, will lead to the success of not just students – but every member of the U of L family.  

As the world moves away from the disruptions caused by this virus, let’s urge university administration and other decision makers to continue deploying compassionate and innovative resources that ensure success to every member of the Cardinal family.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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