With combination of course options amid pandemic, Curry completes the fall semester

Michael Foster, a senior lecturer in the Academic Enrichment Center, taught Reading, Writing and Research 1 in a hybrid format this fall.

By Olivia Perron

     In the era of Covid-19, colleges and universities have had to make decisions about how to continue student learning while keeping students, faculty and staff safe and healthy. While some universities decided their best option was to remain completely remote, other colleges chose to take a different approach to learning.

     Curry College integrated four ways in which a class could be held this fall: in person, online, hybrid and hyflex. A hybrid course is when one session of the class is held in person and the other session is held online. A hyflex course is when one half of the class is in the classroom during a single session while the other half is online, with the two groups switching for the next class meeting. In-person classes were offered in the fall with lower seat availability, while online-only classes were offered at typical capacity.

     First-year student Austin Kessler had four hybrid classes. Earlier this semester he said that he found the hybrid classes were accommodating for students’ safety. He found the flexibility of switching between online and in person to be convenient, and when asked which type of section he preferred he stated that it was hybrid sections.

     “They [hybrid sections] allow for us to be able to be comfortable from our rooms on one day and also allow us to have the in-person college experience,” said Kessler.

     Some students struggled with losing the face-to-face learning they once knew so well. Other students found much difference in learning. A key comment from both sides was that students had to become more independent driven in order to have the best chances of success.

     “[The online component] made learning a bit easier since I think it’s a learning curve for both sides so the homework load doesn’t feel as excessive as it would probably normally be,” said Alice Tisme, a third-year student. “But I found the transition fairly easy, surprisingly.”

     For professors teaching in the new environment, a key became enhancing their ability to engage students through technology. Professors also worked on ways to make sure that students heard and understood the material.

     “I believe that it’s one thing to teach to the content of the course material and another thing to be able to create an environment that is conducive to learning that is going to stick to the student so that they will have the resources that they need to be proficient in their professional careers after they graduate,” said John DiCicco, PhD, a professor in the business department, during the semester.

     First-year student Kaylee Walsh had a mix of online, in-person and hybrid courses. She said that she enjoyed the idea of staying in bed for an online class but also warned of the ease it gives students to slack off and procrastinate.

     “Although it is a lot more convenient for me to have my classes online, I’ve noticed that I seem to put more effort into classes I have in person and make better connections with my classmates,” Walsh said during the semester. “So, therefore, I prefer having class in person.”

     Michael Foster, a senior lecturer in the Academic Enrichment Center who taught Reading, Writing and Research 1 in a hybrid format, said during the semester that he found students speak up more in an online format.

     “Students today are so accustomed to engaging the world online that having the opportunity to communicate in a hybrid manner helps me reach students more effectively at times,” said Foster. “Many students who are too shy to speak up in class will more readily share their opinions via hybrid learning, which is different from what I experienced in the past.”

     Whether engaged in online, hybrid, hyflex or in-person courses, professors and students have come to the conclusion that each mode has its share of perks and downsides. In the world of technology, these new ways of holding courses may remain integrated into college life.

     “I believe students remain engaged as we continue to improve our technology and our method of pedagogical delivery as instructors,” said DiCicco.

First-year student Kaylee Walsh had a mix of online, in-person and hybrid courses this fall.

Final Phase of Learning Commons Opens

LC-Opening-19-853

 

The second and final phase of the Learning Commons project officially opened for business on Wednesday September 18th.

The first phase opened last semester and includes state-of-the-art science labs, a virtual dissector table and multi-configurable classrooms.

The newest phase, in the old science building, includes offices for Study Abroad, the Curry Speaking Center, the Writing Center and a new café, to name just a few additions.

The opening ribbon cutting featured Curry president Kenneth Quigley, provost David Szczerbacki and other members of the faculty, alumni and board of trustees.   The goal of the new building, according to Curry officials, is to provide the space and tools to facilitate the college’s approach to “teaching and learning through mentoring and empowering students to help them achieve their ambitions.” 

 

Men’s Soccer Battles to 1-0 Win Over Framingham

By John Cataloni // Sept. 20, 2018 //

The Colonels found themselves in a physical, defensive battle on a chilly Wednesday night, that may serve as a prelude of what’s to come as Fall approaches and the second half of their season begins.

The Curry men’s soccer team were able to edge out non-conference Framingham State University at Walter M. Katz Field, 1-0, in a game that saw quite a number of stopped play and whistles.

The first half was played to a 0-0 tie, and the Rams actually out-shot the Colonels 15-7 in the period.

Just 10 minutes into the second half, Curry found their break as freshman Nico Sabbatini launched a missile that found the back of the net, with an assist from junior Brandon Rinaldi.

The Rams had their opportunities as they had six more shots on goal than the Colonels but they could not get through junior goalkeeper Paul DeMaio who posted 11 saves in the winning effort.

Late in the second half, there were frustration fouls for the Rams which resulted in two yellow cards after all the physical play and trash talk.

“Framingham State battled hard, we are pretty evenly matched we just made one more play then they did,” said junior Claudio Orsini. 

Sabbatini made that one more play and now leads the team with three goals on the year. 

“The team gives me the confidence to go out and play and take those shots from deep,” said Sabbatini. 

The impressive freshman hails from Cape Elizabeth, M.E. but is originally from Italy.

“All the freshman have been solid and I feel great moving forward with this team as we move towards our bigger conference games,” said Rinaldi. 

Rinaldi also mentioned that he doesn’t think that there’s one star player on the team.

“Different games different guys will make the big play and we need that. We have a chip on our shoulder being ranked last in the preseason polls but we just beat a good [Framingham] team and I think we are only going to get better moving forward,” added Rinaldi.

The Colonels improve to 6-2-1 halfway through the season while the Rams fall to 4-3-1 after the loss.

Up Next

Curry will continue it’s four-game home stand as it hosts conference foe Wentworth (4-3-1) Saturday, Sept. 22, at 1:30 p.m.

 

Curry College Looks to Land Mount Ida Students

BY COLE McNANNA // May 3, 2018

Since Mount Ida College in Newton announced its impending closure last month, Curry College has been one of the leading schools aiding students in finding a new home.

Mount Ida President Barry Brown informed faculty, staff, and students via email in early April that the school will be absorbed by UMass Amherst. Mount Ida students would be granted admission to UMass Dartmouth, located in the southern tip of the state, approximately 60 miles from Newton and Boston.

Mount Ida previously explored merging with Lasell College, also in Newton, both the parties couldn’t come to an agreement. In the end, Mount Ida’s board of trustees decided that the last best option was shuttering the financially strapped college altogether.

“We were getting emails almost every day about what was happening…they were taking us step-by-step with it,” said Mount Ida sophomore Melissa Gilson, an Early Education major, about the potential merging with Lasell. “Then we got an email saying [the merger] wasn’t happening and then two weeks later it’s, ‘School’s closing now; sorry we got bought out.’”

Curry senior staff members and various academic departments quickly jumped into action. With more than 1,000 Mount Ida undergraduates needing a new college to attend, this posed an opportunity for Curry to good by those students while at the same time to do well financially through an influx of additional tuition and room and board.

Michael Bosco, assistant vice president of academic affairs at Curry College, who worked in Mount Ida’s Enrollment Management department from 2005-2010, led a team at Curry that included Financial Services as well as Admissions.

“We got faculty department chairs engaged in looking at how our curriculum and the Mount Ida curriculum align and where there could be some synergy between programs,” said Bosco. “Mount Ida had some specialized programs that we don’t offer here, and then we have some programs that are very similar.”

As an example, he noted the Psychology curriculum between the two colleges varied slightly, but “the department figured out how to make it work for students.”

“There’s a course here that is almost equivalent to the course they offered, so we’ve developed a portfolio assignment which allows students to demonstrate the proficiencies to meet that course.”

To date, more than 150 Mount Ida students have applied to transfer to Curry College, one of many areas schools that have courted the newly displaced undergraduates. A certain percentage of those students will be accepted, and a smaller percentage will actually enroll.

“I can’t predict what the yield will be on that yet,” said Bosco. “The goal is to help these students land on their feet. They’ve sort of had the rug pulled out from under them.”

He also noted that with most schools accepting applications throughout the summer, there isn’t a hard-and-fast deadline that students need to meet. However, “we’d like to see as many students committed by June 1 so we know how to proceed throughout the summer and what adjustments we may need to make in order to facilitate the students properly.”

Not only has the Admission Department stepped up to provide expedited review of applications, financial aid packages, and transfer credit review, but the Athletic Department has been busy recruiting prospective transfers.

“We didn’t want to feel like we were being vultures because we heard a lot of stories about schools that went in there just trying to pick away at people,” said Curry Athletic Director Vinnie Eruzione. “We didn’t do it that way. We had a nice conversation and asked them, ‘How can we help out? What can we do to service your students and, more specifically, your student-athletes?’”

Eruzione has a list of Mount Ida student-athletes, taking up more than two pages, who have applied or been on a tour of Curry since news of the school’s closure broke.

Man…It Really Is Over

By Barak Swarttz // March 22, 2018 //

Just like that. Four years. Four LONG years of college basketball. I do not even know where to begin to compress the past four years into a few paragraphs.

The most recent memory I have is my senior day from this past season. A lot of people came to the game, for both teams. It was a high-energy game, which made it that much better for me because I feed off of energy and always have since I picked up a basketball. Dead basketball gyms are the worst environments to play in. Period.

The gym was loud, the fans were involved and the game was chippy. It’s funny actually…my entire life I have never gotten a technical foul. Ever. Not in travel leagues, camps, clinics, when I played in Israel, AAU, high school or college. Never. I always wondered if I was ever going to get one and my last college basketball game would have been an ironic time to.

During the first half, I forced the player I was guarding to travel and the crowd started going nuts. I proceeded to look at him and scream in his face because I was amped up – that’s just how I am; a very, very emotional player.

Right after, the referee sprinted up to me, got close to my face and said, “Don’t do that again, none of that. That’s where things get messy.”

I walked away with a huge grin on my face and thought to myself, “Man…that would have been the perfect time,” but I did want to preserve my clean record at the same time. After that, I was convinced that I was going to go the rest of my life without ever receiving a technical foul…but two weeks later, guess what?

In just my second men’s league game, I got T’d up for saying, “Man I think that was a terrible call,” under my breath; what a warm welcome to the league. Life is funny, man.

Continue reading “Man…It Really Is Over”