View the movie below. When you’re done, click the “Next” button at the bottom of the page (time: 3:39).
Narrator: We invite you now to another place and time. A place where the unfamiliar has become the all-too-familiar, a time when a college classroom is just a software download away. Or is it? We join now in progress a virtual chat with four faculty members, beamed live…from the COVID-Zone.
Bonita Pereira: Well, my university is bringing students back to campus for the fall. They’ve worked all summer on health and safety issues. Stuff like traffic patterns, air circulation, dining hall procedures, and social distancing. What’s not so clear is…you know…what instruction is going to look like. For some courses, we won’t be able to fit the entire class in the room, so we’re looking at ways to have some students attend face-to-face while others are virtual…and then have them switch places for the next class. Some students have chosen to attend 100% online and they won’t even be on campus. Planning for all of these variables within my courses is incredibly difficult.
Sara Russo: Well that’s an understatement! My university is implementing similar procedures. But… I’m starting to feel anxious. In the spring, we closed campus so fast that I didn’t have time to prepare. And, you know, I admit my instruction was just kind of okay. Given the circumstances, my students were pretty understanding. But you know this fall, they’re gonna expect better. They honestly deserve better. I wanted to learn more about online instruction over the summer, but you know I ended up writing a grant and spending a lot of time in virtual meetings working out changes to research protocols and procedures. So I’m worried about how long it’s gonna take to convert my courses. Maybe I’ll just skip learning about the pedagogical aspects and use the little time that I’ve got to focus on a few new apps and online tools.
Ernst Molloy: I have to admit: I like the way I taught before, interacting with students in a real classroom. I’ve fiddled and tweaked over the years and perfected my courses. I’m not going to change to an online format now. It just won’t work! I think I’ll teach like I did before, but virtually. It’s what I did last semester. The students didn’t complain.
Addison Neely: You know, that brings up another issue: technological equity. Last semester, I had a student who went home and the only tech device she had was her phone! She actually wrote her papers on it. And she lived in a rural part of her state, so then she had to drive an hour to find a place with enough bandwidth to send them to me. That’s not a sustainable way of doing things.
Narrator: New procedures. Different pedagogies. Equity issues. No time. Four professors, many questions, few answers. These are the concerns we’ll be addressing as we move forward.
Here is your Challenge…
How can faculty design high-quality online courses?
How can faculty deliver and refine their online courses?