Category Archives: technology

Op-ed: Hybrid Classes at USC: yay or nay?

By Tiffany Hsia

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, USC moved classes to an online format. Online classes have been a bit of a debated topic as some people love online classes and others feel strongly against them. Online classes allowed for flexibility during the pandemic and for students in different time zones to watch recorded lectures. However, on the other side of the coin, students faced Zoom fatigue as well due to little to no peer interaction, which is an integral part of being in school. I personally had mixed feelings about Zoom classes; it was nice to be able to go to school in my pajamas and to be with my family during the pandemic. However, I felt that I did not learn as well and I did not meet anyone new in my classes, and participation in classes was low. 

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Now that USC has moved towards in-person classes with hybrid options, I still have mixed feelings. Some professors have provided flexible options, allowing for students to choose online or in-person, while other professors did not. Personally, I love the idea of hybrid classes being a permanent fixture at USC. This allows for me to have both the peer-to-peer social interaction that I craved during the pandemic as well as the flexibility that I have grown to appreciate. 

One study from the University of Massachusetts showed that hybrid learning increased knowledge retention and that students perform better compared to online and in-person learning models. While hybrid classes have been a blessing, I am surprised USC did not enforce a hybrid option for all the classes during the fall 2021 semester. While it is understandable that some classes need to be in-person such as ceramics or music, I think that classes that are not as hands-on should have the flexibility of a hybrid model. A few of my professors do not even record lectures and require mandatory in-person attendance; however, I feel that this is not feasible as we are still in a pandemic. I was feeling a little under the weather one day and I was unable to pass my Trojan check questionnaire to get on campus, and as a result, I had to miss class. 

Photo by Philippe Bout on Unsplash

Overall, I believe that USC has pushed for in-person classes despite the ongoing pandemic. While USC does a good job of monitoring and requiring students to have their vaccine as well as testing weekly, there are still things USC can improve on. Hybrid options make the most sense to me as a student, as transitioning from a year of online zoom classes back to in-person was extremely difficult. I struggled with losing the independence that I had with online classes as well as waking up earlier to get ready to go to school due to my 20-minute commute to class. While I see the benefits of hybrid learning, I understand it is not for everyone, as it requires strong organizational and time management skills and technological limits. If USC is able to better support students, I think for the most part students would be amenable to a hybrid learning model.  It is truly the best of both worlds as students can go on campus when they want and enjoy in-person interactions but also attend class online if they are busy or unable to physically be in school at the time. 

Featured Image by Dom Fou on Unsplash

Tiffany is a senior studying Health and Human Sciences with a minor in Economics on the pre-physical therapy track. She is originally from San Jose, California, but has lived overseas in Shanghai and Taiwan. She speaks Mandarin and conversational Spanish. On campus, she is a member of Science Outreach and a research assistant at the USC Brain and Creativity Institute. Tiffany loves traveling, going to the movies, trying new foods, and spending time with friends.

Close Out 2021 With a Good Movie

By Nikhita Datar

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

It’s weird to think that very shortly, 2021 will be coming to a close. With that being said, Hollywood is releasing what seem to be a couple of hopeful major award-grabbing movies. Here’s what films to look forward to for the rest of the year, which you can watch over winter break in preparation for awards season:

  1. Dune 
Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

Based off of a novel written in 1965 by Frank Herbert, this narrative brings together all of the elements of film that we love to see on the big screen: a star-studded ensemble cast (Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, and Oscar Isaac), innovative costume design, a hard-hitting soundtrack (composed by Hans Zimmer), and intricate visual design that is attributed to director Denis Villeneuve. I would recommend this movie with a warning: it’s definitely not for everyone. Not much background is explained in the film, so if you haven’t previously watched David Lynch’s adaptation of the book or read the novel itself, you may have a more difficult time understanding the plot. With minimal dialogue and more focus on the sound/visual elements, it might feel slow to some. 

  1. Eternals

The movie industry’s biggest franchise is finally gracing us with another highly-anticipated film with Marvel movie Eternals. Similar to Dune, the ensemble cast is filled with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Including Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, Kit Harington, and Gemma Chan, and directed by recent Academy Award winner Chloe Zhao, this film is said to be different from anything that Marvel has ever released before. If you like larger-than-life stories, then this is the perfect fit for you. 

  1. Spencer
Photo by Tim Alex on Unsplash

If you’re a fan of Netflix’s The Crown, then this movie is the perfect match for you. With Kristen Stewart in the titular role, this story named after Princess Diana’s maiden name unpacks the Christmas festivities at Queen Elizabeth II’s Sandringham Estate leading up to the divorce between Diana and Prince Charles. Directed by Pablo Larraín, who also made Jackie, this film is predicted to make Stewart a potential Oscar candidate from the looks of the trailer itself.  If you’re a history buff or simply want to know more about the beloved Princess Di, then Spencer is the movie to watch. 

Continue reading Close Out 2021 With a Good Movie

Life These Days

By Brianneth Rocha

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

It seems like just yesterday, the world stopped in response to the pandemic. For the first few months of social distancing, I lost track of the days. Before I had time to perceive it, weeks had gone by. All plans were thrown out the window, and the year that marked the third decade of my life has been nothing like I originally expected. I could have spent all of my time dwelling on the lost moments and experiences, but instead I chose to see the light at the end of the tunnel. So, after giving myself time to reflect and acknowledge that my home would most likely be the center of my whole life for the rest of the year, I worked to find my motivation and passion.

At the beginning of the pandemic, things weren’t so bad, as I had school to occupy myself with. Society as a whole went on an exploration through the world of Zoom. There was frustration and even hatred towards technology, and for many learning technology has been like learning a new language. However, once we all settled into the basic framework of living in an online world, technology became the bridge connecting everyone via a virtual landscape. Lately, Zoom has been a key feature in my life. From classes to weekly meals with my friends, it seems that we are all in long-distance relationships these days. We have found a way to connect without the need for physical presence.

Photo by Beci Harmony on Unsplash
Continue reading Life These Days