Students turn to remote classes due to fewer summer opportunities


File illustration by Emma Ruck

Northwestern students find last resort in remote summer classes as other opportunities get canceled.

Rayna Song, Reporter

With dwindling internship opportunities and other summer work due to COVID-19, Northwestern students are turning to remote summer classes.

Over 1,000 more students than last year have enrolled in summer classes this year as COVID-19 has shifted many students’ summer plans.

McCormick junior Devin Shen is taking Chemistry 131 this summer, he said, partly because he has more time than he originally expected.

“Because of coronavirus, there’s not a lot of internships or research possible,” Shen said. “Even though I did get a remote internship, I think I can still manage to take this three-week course.”

Shen added he thinks he will learn the materials better online because he will have access to reference books at home and more flexibility regarding class time.

According to the University’s website, summer courses will be graded on a letter system with the option for Pass/No Pass grading determined at the level of individual courses. The University had shifted to a universal Pass/No Pass grading system for undergraduates this past spring.

“Summer courses won’t necessarily be easier because of the more intense schedule,” Shen said. “But since it’s off-campus and remote, I’m more willing to take it.”

McCormick sophomore Bill Yen plans on taking Chemistry 210-1, he said, because he wants to find something productive to do.

Yen added he had previously considered taking summer classes but didn’t want to stay on campus in order to do so. When he heard summer classes would be remote this year, he decided it would be a good idea to take classes this summer.

Yen also believes there are less distractions when taking summer classes compared to other quarters.

“I’m assuming most people don’t take the full load during the summer,” Yen said. “They will be able to focus on (classes) better.”

Yen said he is only taking one summer class because the summer sessions website recommends not taking another class simultaneously with Chemistry 210-1 due to its intensity.

Economics Prof. Scott Ogawa, who is teaching several economics classes during the summer, said he envisions more student-faculty interaction than in Spring Quarter.

“I plan in the summer to go even more all-in on the synchronous,” Ogawa said. “Because I only have 30 students… I hope to get to know all the students well.”

Ogawa said there is an increase in student enrollment this summer because of internship cancellations and fewer job opportunities. He added education is an industry on which people spend more money during economic downturns.

Ogawa said he will modify the format of his classes to adapt to online instruction, but the content will remain mostly the same.

“I hope to create a fruitful and meaningful experience over the summer for all the great young minds at Northwestern,” Ogawa said.

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