While some professors at Stevenson University are finding it challenging to teach classes online, they recognize the importance of being present for their students during the coronavirus pandemic.
The recent switch to online teaching has required an adjustment for both teachers and students. Some professors have taught classes online before, but many prefer interacting in the classroom instead.
Stephanie Verni, professor of business communication, said, “While I don’t mind online delivery, and have taught online before and will teach online over the summer, I prefer to see my students face-to-face in the classroom. I’m a people person, so I enjoy the banter before class begins and then the chit chats I often have with students after class ends. I miss those interactions.”
Verni added, “I’ve learned how important it is to be as clear as possible giving a lecture using VoiceThread. As I’m trying to keep lectures to a reasonable time limit for students as they are navigating anywhere from four to six classes, I am trying my best to deliver pertinent information only and explain it as clearly as possible.“
Many faculty members at Stevenson are using Bluejeans or Zoom to communicate with students in real time and are using VoiceThread to record lectures to be able to teach information on slides like they normally would in the classroom.
Nobody knows exactly when the quarantine will end. According to EdSource, education-based web services like Google Classroom or Schoology have helped faculty across many states adjust to technologically driven presentations for now. Most agree that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer for making a remote classroom successful.
Professor of communication, Dr. Heather Harris, stated, “What happened over the break was not a shift to online learning. It was about finding ways to mitigate the students’ fears. Not just remote learning, but about life as we move forward together in the time of Covid-19. Our connection with the students is one of the few things that is somewhat stable in their lives and ours.”
Stevenson faculty have been keeping in touch through campus email and phone calls as well, in addition to one-on-one video conferences. Lessons recorded through VoiceThread or on YouTube can be remotely accessed at the student’s convenience, in addition to the synchronous learning that is occurring.
Understanding how to adjust and modify a typical classroom project can be challenging for traditional faculty who have not had to depend on technological resources. Stevenson Faculty Fellows and the Office of Information Technology have been at the ready to assist faculty and respond to any challenges.