The fall 2020 semester started this week at Montana State University Billings, the first time students are able to return to in-person learning since the spread of COVID-19 across Montana.
Students at the university are saying the change back to face-to-face learning has been challenging but rewarding.
“I think the professors have done a really good job in knowing that if they are going to be online. It is sort of hard to do that and then go to your in-person classes,” said Charlene Allmer, resident assistant and criminal justice major at MSUB, on Friday.
Allmer said she has noticed a few changes coming back to campus for the first time since March. Classes started Wednesday.
“We are a lot farther apart… It’s a lot of group discussion that has moved online, which is fine, but sometimes you have your setbacks…Other than that, it’s just made classes a lot smaller. But I think (it's) nice because you sort of get more attention that way and one-on-one help, which is really cool,” says Allmer.
University administrators said the transition back to on-campus learning been different from past semesters but successful.
“It’s been, to me, predictably messy as the beginnings of all academic years are. The overlay of COVID has made this one a little different because we have students taking different kinds of instruction,” said Roth Groseth, interim chancellor at the university.
Groseth said some students are participating in on-site learning, some online, and others are transitioning between both platforms.
Groseth said some classes have had cut down on class sizes in order to maintain social distancing while in the classroom.
MSU Billings Provost Melinda Arnold said that registration is looking robust at this time and there are still a few days left for anyone who wants to be a student at the university to register.