Most IUP students and professors prefer final projects as opposed to traditional final exams.
Finals week is a stressful time for many students, but the COVID-19 pandemic puts on even more stress during this week.
Different professors use different methods while giving out finals. Some have a final exam, a final project or even a final discussion. This semester, things are done differently because most of these classes are online. Therefore, some finals must be taken on Zoom.
“For upper-level classes, I typically prefer a final project or presentation where students can develop their own ideas based on the material in my class and the body of work over their academic tenure,” criminology professor Eric Kocian said. “This affords them the chance to showcase their presentation skills, which is necessary in the field of criminology.”
Journalism and public relations professor Laurie Miller plans cumulative final exams or projects, as most professors at IUP do. For her intensive writing classes, she usually assigns a final paper or a revised portfolio.
“In my former life as a journalist, I learned that the best interviews with sources for articles are face-to-face; you gain so much more than answers to the questions you are seeking,” Miller said. “Nonverbal communications such as facial expressions and body language can tell you a lot.”
Kocian and Miller both prefer in-person instructions and discussions.
“I prefer to have all my classes in-person, as that is where real learning takes place and students can better interact with the professor and one another,” Kocian said. “Zoom is good here and there, but the quality of output and class instruction is certainly not the same.”
“While Zoom has been a useful tool during the pandemic, in better times, I would prefer to do any final exams or presentations in-person, in a classroom,” Miller said.
“I am really looking forward to being back in-person and regaining a lot of the social dynamics and interactions in class that was tough to do during COVID-19,” Kocian said.
As for the student's perspective, they feel the same way most professors do.
It is a lot harder to pay attention when classes are completely online on Zoom. Most students prefer to have their classes in-person and take their finals in a classroom, but in the end, it could be less stressful having them online.
“I would prefer to have a final discussion because I like to reflect on what I learned rather than just take an exam and answer questions,” Camille Meister (senior, sociology) said. “I find myself less stressed with my finals being online because I do not have to go anywhere to take them, and I can do them on my own time.”
While most classes are online, there are a few majors, like nursing, that have hybrid learning. Some classes are held in-person, and other classes are on Zoom. Nursing majors still must participate in clinical classes in-person, but some of the less intense classes may be online.
“I would prefer to have a final project because it is easier for me to complete,” Kaitlyn Repos (junior, nursing) said. “It would be easier for my nursing classes to have a final exam, but in my elective classes, I would want to have a final project.
“With everything online, I am definitely more stressed because I think it is harder for me to figure out when things are due, and I have trouble locating my assignments on D2L.”
While finals week can be stressful to some and relaxing to others, it is a time to showcase to your teachers what you have learned throughout the year. Good luck, IUP.