Coronavirus: More than 5,000 USF classes go online

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – Florida universities are making the switch to e-learning as the number of coronavirus cases worsen.

That includes the University of South Florida. More than 5,000 class have transitioned to online classes amid the pandemic. There is currently one USF student that tested positive for COVID-19, so out of an abundance of caution, the entire spring semester will be carried out online.

The transition is an adjustment for teachers and students, especially for Dr. Rick Weinburg. For the past 43 years, Weinburg has been teaching at USF. In those four decades, he has never had to teach virtually.

“It’s a pretty steep learning curve,” Weinburg said.

Weinburg is currently teaching two classes, behavioral health in the family and couple’s counseling.

“Use the raise your hand little button on the bottom of the screen and I’ll call on you,” Weinberg instructed his students as he was preparing to begin his lecture.

The program Weinberg is using to get through the rest of the semester is called “Collaborate.” It allows him to see his students live, host lectures with PowerPoint slides, conduct quizzes and tests and more.

“It even detects cheating, so this program is great,” Weinburg said with a big smile on his face.

To his surprise, the program is pretty similar to an actual in-person class.

“I thought initially this would b a drag, but it emulates the face to face interaction as close as you can,” he said.

His students say the transition hasn’t been that hard either.

“It really has been seamless, it’s been easier than I expected,” Megan Gillespie said.

“I’m a huge fan and it’s enabling us to stay at home and be safe while still completing our schooling,” Sadie Lipman added.

Dr. Weinberg says the lessons students are learning in both of his classes correlate with what’s going on with the COVID-19 pandemic. He says many of his students are using the crisis as the basis of their final term paper.

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