Students, faculty get most out of night classes during challenging semester


Courtesy to Bridge Michigan

Trevor Hubert, Staff Reporter

While the classic six-to-nine night class might be sporting a different look at Grand Valley State University this semester, online classes haven’t made it any more rare for students across the university. Some students love piling a week’s worth of education into one night, while others dread it.

Prepping homework and presentations for a three-hour session can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how students operate.

Some students have given advice online for easing the stress, such as making dinner during class and putting the computer on night mode to make things better on the eyes.

“You should take breaks from looking at your screen by taking notes on paper,” one student said.

“Don’t take night classes is my tip,” said another.

For professors, it can be an entirely different beast from a typical Tuesday-Thursday or Monday-Wednesday-Friday lecture. Professors have to find a way to keep students interested and engaged for a longer period of time, which can be an even tougher challenge in a virtual setting. No matter what the subject is, it can be just as difficult for professors to hold attention as it is for students to pay attention.

Tim Bulson, a professor in the communications department who has taught several night classes over the years, gave several words of advice for those who take on the challenge of evening education. Once class has commenced, he suggests approaching the session with an open mind.

“Take a short walk on the way to class (or before you settle into your space at home) as a way to enjoy some solitude and re-set the mind,” Bulson said. “Stop. Look. Listen. Be careful about setting preconceived notions of what the evening will bring; be open and ready to accept new ideas, directions or perspectives.”

Whether it is at GVSU or any other institution, the night class has become a staple of higher education, for better or worse. Night classes aren’t going anywhere as long as there are professors to teach them and students to sit (or Zoom) in them. The responsibility lies on both sides in order for the class to be successful.

The homework will keep flowing, the grades will continue to roll in, and that one kid everybody knows will still be walking in ten minutes late. For this semester and semesters beyond, almost every student will have to endure the beauty and the horror that is the six-to-nine.

As a final word of advice, Bulson mentioned taking some time to have fun in class, something that can get lost in the rush of university life.

“Take it seriously – but not too seriously,” Bulson said. “Yes, university life and learning should be thoughtful and thought-provoking, but not at the expense of smiles.”