The University of Minnesota Crookston has been offering courses and entire degrees online for 20 over years. The global pandemic COVID-19 has forced students of all ages and a majority of people in the workforce to move online. For most, that alone can be a source of great stress, however, UMN Crookston has been well prepared for a smooth transition to complete online learning. 

From communication courses to animal science labs, students are able to continue their degrees without a bump in the road. 

Assistant professor of animal science, Leslie Lekatz provided some insight into how the transition from on-campus to online classes has been, “It has been different, but doable. I have been holding dissections in my kitchen and recording those for my students to see.” 

Faculty members are ideating creative ways to bring the classroom into student’s homes and providing them with a sense of normalcy during this time. 

Lekatz further elaborated on the matter, “I also take pictures and set up stations for them to ID the anatomy (exactly what we would be doing in the lab, just with pictures). My reproduction class has been more challenging since many of their labs this spring were going to be hands-on (calving, practicing AI, etc.) or field trips. So, I have been doing my best to find videos of everything and create lab lectures based on the videos.”

UMN Crookston faculty have been going above and beyond to keep their students engaged and engrossed in their day to day classes. As Mark Huglen, professor of communication stated, "UMN Crookston has had online learning courses and programs for many years — half of UMN Crookston’s students are online students already. There is institutional motive [and] support for the online learning infrastructure and enterprise and all of the online courses are and have been part of the regular faculty review and course review processes for many years. Because half of the UMN Crookston teaching and learning operation is already online, there has been a very smooth transition for bringing a majority of other courses online."

The changes that have taken place have had an impact on students and the ways in which they learn. The transition to online learning has presented itself with both challenges and opportunities for animal science pre-vet senior, Elysia Morris.

Photo of Elysia Morris

"The transition to online learning for some of my classes has posed a real challenge when it comes to coursework. There are only so many hours in a day, and I spend most of them watching recorded lectures and taking notes. The rest of the time that I have left I spend working on homework. However, most of my professors are doing an awesome job adjusting to this new style of teaching, and it’s nice to know that they’re working with us to try and bring some sort of normalcy to our courses" mentioned Morris.

Going completely online has been an adjustment for many, but it has also created a unique learning opportunity and has given students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to look at higher education from a new perspective. More than anything, this situation has also shown the resilience of the Golden Eagle community. 

 About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses in the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston cultivates curiosity by engaging students in hands-on learning connecting theory to practice. As the experienced leader in delivering education online, the Crookston campus offers a distinctive learning environment providing personal attention and mentorship to develop leaders, lifelong learners, and engaged citizens. Visit Crookston at 

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota. Learn more at

Story Contact: Shawn Smith