Moving to fully online course work for the entire university has been a growing experience for most of us, I think. Learning to use the tools we have available to us, figuring out what works best for each of our different classes, and trying to maintain some sort of connection while under a social distancing order – these things may have been difficult for you. They have been for me, and I’ve been teaching fully online classes for almost ten years.
Fortunately, we exist in a community of teachers, helpers, and leaders. Sometimes we have to pull from this community to succeed in trying times like these. If you’re struggling, here are some words of advice from TAMUC Faculty like you:
1. Think of accessibility not only in terms of students with disabilities, but also students who are at places in their lives where participating in live streamed lectures may not be possible. Dr. Jessica Pauszek, Director of the First Year Writing Program, says, “I also like to use a combination of synchronous tools (Zoom and YouSeeU) with them recording as well as asynchronous. A lot of students like seeing/hearing the class, so I like to provide the opportunity to use these platforms, but I always have a PowerPoint to share and will record it and email students who cannot watch the recording with text outlining what we discussed in the video since many students might not have the internet support to watch the video.”
2. Poll your students to see what they want to get out of the rest of the semester. Dr. Elva Resendez House, Department of Management faculty, says, “I asked them what they preferred. ALL students wanted a live interactive class during normal class times. (I offered to cancel one session a week and they said ‘no’). They want to interact live whether it is through the phone, or video.”
3. Be open to change – even changing assignments that work well in a regular classroom setting under more normal circumstances. “For instance, especially in trying times, I don’t think we can expect everyone to have the energy and capacity to read as closely as they might for class. So, I’m trying to use a combination of short videos, podcasts, and readings to vary the work for the course,” says Dr. Pauszek.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of online courses, or just stepping into the online arena because of COVID-19, we’re in this together – whether we’re faculty, staff, students, or administration.
If you have insights that you’d like to share with your colleagues about the switch to online, what’s working for you, or questions for our office, we want to hear from you! You can use our comment section below, or email your thoughts directly to Anne Phifer at email@example.com.