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Staff and students adjusting to online learning at the U of I

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) - Staff and students at the University of Iowa began the long, last leg of their semester Monday, acclimating to fully-online classes to slow the spread of COVID-19.

"I think we're kind of just dreading the unknown," senior John Woodruff said, sitting at a metal desk in his townhome in Iowa City.

Teachers started accelerating their push to online learning on March 11, when the university announced it would suspend all face-to-face instruction for at least two weeks following spring break.

"Most of my teachers were preparing for it," Woodruff said.

The university, realizing the gravity of the worldwide pandemic, announced classes would continue online through the rest of the semester a week later.

The university's Distance and Online Education department has been shuffling teachers in and out of its interactive lecture studios for the past few weeks, trying to help them recreate the classroom experience.

Mark Hamilton, a technician in the Distance and Online Education department, shows capabilities of the school's interactive teaching studios.

The department has three studios that allow teachers to record interviews with guests, interact with power point presentations and stand in front of large photos.

"We're trying to get them to come in earlier rather than later," Mark Hamilton said, a university staffer who's been helping teachers transition online since the outbreak.

Hamilton said they're pushing to get all lessons for spring courses done soon as they're worried this might be a reality for summer courses as well.

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Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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