The date, November 9, 2016 – one day after the 2016 presidential election. Needless to say, political pundits were not the only ones surprised by the election results. When I entered my classroom that day there was a palpable “something” in the air. It was clear my students were not in a space to conduct classroom work as usual.
As the 2020 election approaches, I have found myself thinking a lot about how to help our students navigate our incredibly politically polarized society. Listening carefully to each other and understanding other people’s points of view is certainly an important goal of the work we do in our classrooms and across campus. But there are also many situations in life when it’s just as important to be able to talk with other people and connect with them despite and across political differences.
Chantal Feitosa, Visiting Artist
A remote spin on the formative critique
By Micaela Vivero, Studio Art
In Studio Art we have done a field trip to New York City with our senior practicum students for over 10 years. In this trip we visit museums, galleries, artist studios and get to talk with artists about their own experience of being a practicing artist in such an important art center as is New York City.
This semester I am teaching a junior-level chemistry class with only majors. By this stage in their college experience, these students are dedicated to learning and ready to engage deeply with the material. My challenge is that 25% (5/20) of the class is remote. I wanted to ensure that all students had an equitable learning experience, content delivery worked smoothly for everybody, and all students were able to fully engage not only with the material, but with me and their classmates as well.
As a cognitive psychologist, I appreciate that the mind likes structure. It helps us make sense of novel input, guides predictive inferences as we learn, and allows for more successful retention of information. In the classroom, the structure is reflected in how the material is organized as well as how we work with that material. In pre-COVID classes, I would provide a mixture of active lectures, activities, and discussions most every day.
We all know the importance of office hours – creating that critical link with our students outside of the classroom. Connecting early with students is more important than ever, to create a safe space where students feel comfortable asking us questions or sharing with us if they are feeling overwhelmed or need help. Social distancing and hygiene protocols will make these connections a challenge this fall.
Theater is all about physicality and embodiment. When my classes went remote in the spring, I soon found my active, energetic students passively sitting, hunched at their keyboard. To get them ready to engage in my acting class (physically and mentally), I needed something to get them moving, improve their posture, increase their breathing, and maybe even release a few endorphins with a little laughter – enter Zoom Games
I found a number of low stakes games that helped get my students involved.