Tackling the New Semester With Optimism and Expertise

As online education and virtual classrooms become the norm, students and teachers are tackling the new semester together with optimism and expertise.

“This semester, our PharmD curriculum is the same in terms of content, but the delivery and format have changed entirely,” says Edith Mirzaian, assistant dean of curriculum.

“You can’t expect students to sit through three hours of lectures online, so we had to find a way to make the delivery engaging and practical.”

The resulting approach combines prerecorded lectures with live sessions in which students apply clinical decision-making skills to specific case studies.

“As an instructor, I’ve found that this model actually increases engagement,” Mirzaian says. “Students have more time to digest the information, and I feel like they’re getting more time with me to practice what they’ve learned. And the new format is a great way for first-year students to get to know each other through the Zoom breakout rooms.”

First-year PharmD student Jerrel Siazon is eager to begin his pharmacy school education and says the online format doesn’t hold him back. 

I really appreciate how asynchronous videos and live lecture recordings are available to watch at any given time,” explains Siazon. “I’m able to watch the videos and prepare at my own pace, and if I need to refresh my memory on what was discussed during the live lecture, I can simply rewatch recordings.”

PharmD Class of 2023 student Catherine Aquino advises settling into a routine to be successful this semester.

It’s hard to keep up with many different deadlines, so I try to keep my planner as updated and organized as possible,” says Aquino.  “It’s also important to take breaks when you need it.”

PharmD Class of 2022 student Ashley Duru shares that transitioning to virtual learning hasn’t been easy, but she has adjusted her sleep schedule and maintained campus connections so that she can be successful while learning from home.

“I attribute a lot of my success with remote learning to being able to stay in contact with the classmates who have become an integral part of my support system since being at USC,” says Duru.

Second-year PharmD student Roshni Badlani echoes this sentiment.

“Whether it’s via Facebook or group texts, everyone is constantly checking in on each other with reminders and support,” says Badlani. “I love seeing that we’re all navigating through this shift together.”