COD keeps spring semester online, students disappointed but not surprised


Kevin Ashley, Staff Writer

The College of Dupage has announced that it won’t be bringing in-person classes back for the 2021 spring semester. This has come to the disappointment of many who were riding out the online fall semester of 2020 until the in-person learning is back. Now many are left with a choice: should they consider coming to the college during the spring semester or just give up on this school year entirely. Here is some information you should know before making that choice.
Given the continued rise in COVID-19 cases in DuPage County and nationally, the college’s decision to stay with the present format follows what health experts recommend. COD President Brian W. Caputo said, “College leaders have been carefully monitoring local positivity rates and reports from local, state and national health officials. In the interest of protecting the health and safety of our students and employees – and in light of the continued lack of a vaccine and anticipated third outbreak wave – we felt the most responsible step was to continue our remote and hybrid learning options for the spring term.”
The format will be fairly identical to what is happening in the current semester, with a few changes.
“We are offering eight new courses in Computer Information Systems and Computer Information Technology in a hybrid format during the spring semester,” Caputo said. “I would add that hybrid courses are offered in those areas in which labs and other hands-on work – and therefore the course learning objectives – are best achieved through at least some face-to-face instruction.”
By adding more hybrid courses, the college’s hope is to help those students who need in-person learning and experience in these fields. It also helps students who don’t have the equipment at home required for the classes that are needed for their degree or program.
However, the college does understand the discouragement students may feel in attending the spring semester, but Caputo insists students attend next semester because the consequences of not doing so could be harmful.
“We were very intentional with respect to our communications and marketing efforts in encouraging students to continue their studies and not take a gap year,” Caputo said. “There are reports that delaying a college degree by even one year can significantly impact an individual’s lifetime earning potential. For students discouraged by the prospect of online education, know that technology is allowing us to continue to connect with students in the classroom, albeit a virtual one.
“The college has offered online education for more than 20 years,” Caputo continued “Students can continue to be confident in the academic rigor of our programming and in the available course formats. The distance we currently are experiencing will not divide students from the quality academics they have come to know at COD.”
The lack of an in-person education isn’t the only problem people see. The fear of the virus is also present. Caputo said the college has been taking many steps to keep students and faculty safe.
“For those coming to campus for hybrid classes, we are strictly adhering to several guidelines, including social distancing, masks and health and temperature screenings,” Caputo said. “The continued health and safety of our students and staff is a priority. We will be back when it is safe to do so. I look forward to welcoming our students back to campus.”
The spring semester was the hope for many that some amount of normalcy can return to college. Many students, like Racheal Johnson, are disappointed COD will remain online for spring semester.
“I had a feeling it was going to be online, and online classes have been hard for me this semester,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t too excited, but I understand why they are doing it.” Another COD student, Angel Manuel Reynoso, agreed the news came as he expected it would.
“Honestly, I’m not surprised,” Reynoso said. “I kinda expected it and had already prepared for that reality. I see online classes as a little more of an obstacle for varying reasons, so moving forward I will be taking a class less or two.”
The idea that online classes are more difficult isn’t just shared among present students. It is also the reason why some have not attended the fall semester.
Denny Chuong, a former student of the college, said he’s going to continue his gap year. “I was kinda disappointed, but I understand why they did it,” Chuong said. “Honestly, online classes are not for me, so I won’t mind waiting another semester.”