Students needed a fair warning on class modality changes



Adhokshaya Malhotra

CUNY has been facing a host of issues recently with the omicron variant. The issues range from getting access to vaccine passes to financial aid issues, but one of the more prevalent challenges has been professors changing course modality.

These changes can be seen both ways, with some Baruch professors choosing to change the modality of their lectures from fully online to hybrid and others from in-person to online.

This has understandably led to a debate about whether professors should have the liberty to change the modality of the class just before the beginning of the semester.

The short answer to this question is no. There are three types of cases that can be argued to justify why it is wrong on the professor’s part to change the modality.

First, students who have a job near the campus may choose in-person classes to lessen their commute and have access to the internet.

Second, some students have to choose an online class because maybe they are not physically in New York or even in the country, but don’t want their studies to be affected.

Third, students might have chosen a modality solely based on their performance in that mode. If a student performs well in online mode, they might be tempted to choose that mode. Similarly, if a student hasn’t performed well in online mode, they might want to choose in- person or hybrid classes.

This decision is very critical for the student as it will affect their GPA and other skills that they might be wanting to draw from that class.

Some may argue that there’s a gray area where the answer isn’t a yes or no.

Even the long answer to this question is no because looking at it from the professor’s side, their interests must also be considered. After all, a lecture is made up of both the instructor and the student.

But, in the case of change in modality, the major effect of that is on the shoulders of the students.

The best solution to this problem would be to call for a poll whenever the professor wants to make a change. If the majority of the students vote in one direction, that verdict must be accepted instead of being overruled by the college and/or professor.

Just as in a democracy where to bring about changes, people elect leaders whom they think will deliver on the promise of a better future, changing the modality of classes must be thought through democratically.