TAMIU Students Share Their Transition to Virtual Environment Classrooms
Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) students who transitioned this week to a Virtual Classroom as part of TAMIU’s response to COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”), offered insight into their experiences taking courses online and how they are coping with social distancing and more.
Julio Domínguez, a junior English major and U.S. Marine Veteran, said his first week in a Virtual Environment was a bit bumpy for him, but not difficult.
“The experience was new, the world is always changing, and in these uncertain circumstances, we need to be able to adapt quickly and to not be left behind,” he said.
Domínguez said he keeps in touch with his classmates by phone while he practices social distancing.
“All my friends are a text away, and my classmates can easily be reached via apps like WhatsApp or by Blackboard,” he said.
He offered words of encouragement for TAMIU classmates and friends as they stay home, respecting social distancing measures.
“I’d say stay busy, stay positive, and pay attention to what is happening in the world,” he said, “…This pandemic is an example of the world’s current emergency response. What we do and how we handle this now is going to affect how we respond for the next global crisis.”
Michelle Rivera, a senior Nursing major, said that her experience in the Virtual Classes went surprisingly smoothly this week.
“I had to take a couple of exams, but it wasn’t my first time taking an exam online, so there weren’t any problems,” Rivera said, “My lectures are done through Zoom, and I liked that I could attend class in the comfort of my own home.”
She continued, “I was surprised to see my professors were able to navigate Zoom and WebEx effectively. We had class without any hiccups and I felt so proud of them.”
Rivera encouraged her TAMIU classmates to continue to stay positive and keep washing their hands.
“Find a new hobby, read a book, video chat with your friends,” she said, “It is important for your mental health at this time,” she said.
Juan Barrera, a junior Communications and Psychology double major, said that to him, it was no different seeing his professors on screen this week as opposed to face-to face.
“My professor was using her webcam and sharing her screen while everyone was logged in, listening, and chatting with each other and her,” he said.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Barrera, originally from nearby Roma, said he rarely had time for himself as he was frequently busy as a member of student organizations as well as with classes and work.
“Right now, I’m grateful for being home, continuing with my education and still being able to work from home,” he said, “I understand not everyone gets these opportunities, so, I really don’t complain.”
Barrera said people now live in a world where they are connected at all times.
“At first, it was difficult not socializing since before, I would be with people all day, every day on campus,” he said, “It just took some getting used to by talking to my friends and family through social media such as Facebook and Instagram. WhatsApp is probably the most helpful of all for classes. It also helps alleviate stress with features such as stickers and GIFs we send each other.”
In his free time, Barrera said he likes reading books.
“As of right now, I’m reading ‘The Testaments’ by Margaret Atwood,” he said, “I also write and edit music and write treatments for videos.”
He said in moments like these, it is important for everyone to try their best.
“Drastic changes have been affecting all of us,” he said, “But after all of this, I just know we will appreciate even the tiniest details such as going grocery shopping, and knowing that you’re never too old for hugs and kisses.”
Kaitlyn Alejandro, a senior Political Science major originally from Freer, said she enjoyed her Virtual Classes this week.
“It was definitely different, but I enjoyed being in the Virtual Blackboard Classroom because since there is a chat feature, everybody could comment at the same time, in real time, to the professor,” she said.
She encouraged fellow TAMIU students to support each other and be there for those who need others, TAMIU Together.
“Remember that even if it doesn’t seem like it right now, this will end and everything will go back to normal,” she said, “For now, we just have to stick it out and stay together.”
Online Registration at TAMIU begins Monday April 6 for Maymester, Summer and Fall classes. All classes will be online in the TAMIU Virtual Classroom.
As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TAMIU’s campus is closed to the general public. Online and virtual services at the University continue, practicing all CDC Guidelines on gathering and social distancing and with most staff working remotely. Office hours are subject to change and it is recommended that phone or email contact be made first to determine the office’s schedule of operation. Entry to campus is only open to students, faculty, staff and those having legitimate reasons to be on campus. Masks should be worn in compliance with City orders effective 2 April, 2020. An online directory is here.
The University’s dedicated COVID-19 website is updated daily and includes information on office schedules and services, an expansive FAQ, quick links, student resources, official information links and much more.