Noteworthy Faculty Success Stories
Joe Ortiz | Geology
Converting our class field trip to an online event has gone very well. Rather than camping in southern Ohio, we decided to go to the Grand Canyon for a virtual visit. I provided online resources that let the students see high resolution images with embedded learning videos and teaching exercises that were made by ASU. I invited some colleagues, who are world experts on the Grand Canyon to participate as virtual "guides" Two days before our field trip, they published two new papers in the journal Geology about the Grand Canyon. I developed a presentation to discuss that new work, which is significant, revising the stratigraphy of part of the Cambrian age geology of the Grand Canyon for the first time in 70 years. Their second paper revises the age constraints for the timing of the middle to late Cambrian and has implications for the diversity of life during that time. These are exciting new results that my students will be able to discuss and explore just two days after publication!
Students were grateful for the combined approach of sync and async instruction. I had first planned for async only, but when I told them that I was going to have sync lectures, several expressed relief that they "would not have to teach themselves". They were grateful for the information that I shared in announcements and my concern for them. But, student did comment that they had a hard time focusing and maintaining motivation as the term progressed due to the stress of the situation.
Katie Knapp | EHHS
We had an online Celebration of Learning night in Early Childhood. Instead of a poster presentation, we are creating websites. The Dean created a beautiful message for me to share with the grads. We used Flipgrid for our Faculty to send messages to the grads and for the grads to share favorite memories with each other and faculty.
Jennifer Shanholtzer | Nursing
At the College of Nursing, we have recorded many of our previous simulation lab experiences with our CAE Learning Space simulation management system. With the help of our IT simulation support staff, Onur Topuzlu, we have quickly edited and uploaded videos for students to watch and then debrief, live, with their expert faculty via blackboard collaborate. We are doing this is most of our clinical nursing classes as a way to stimulate discussions surrounding patient care. In addition, I have used Kaltura videos to quickly teach our adjunct how to navigate use of videos and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.
Pamela Luft | EHHS
For this literacy class I usually show multiple topics of K-12 books that can be used to address reading and writing skills asking students to identify cross-disciplinary skill links. This year I investigated the Ohio Digital Library, the KSU library e-books, and the Kent Free Library/Ohio Link ebooks with little success. I eventually discovered that all of these books were now available as read-alouds on Youtube, some posted in March by teachers during COVID-19 for their students. I was able to find the range of international versions of Cinderella (used for literacy and cross-disciplinary instruction) across different counties and cultures and used a flipped classroom approach to have students select a book and create activities.
Melanie A. Tabak | Psychological Sciences
Use of Bb Collaborate Ultra to have synchronous Statistics classes students are really stepping up and asking questions when they need help. I have a "quiz" that includes a place for them to "tell me anything you need or want me to know" and this has been a good place for them to vent, ask questions, and connect with me. Bb Collaborate meetings one-on-one with students when they request. It allows us to connect. If we have to do this again in Fall, I may require a "face-to-face" meeting
Andrew Barnes | Political Science
The best thing I did was tell students from day 1 that I understood some of the stresses they were under, that there were probably others I didn't even know about, and my only promise was that I wouldn't be the person who made it worse. Teaching rule #1: Meet students where they are--don't make the learning experience difficult for the sake of difficulty under the pretense of "having high standards." This holds true regardless of the teaching platform.
Darwin Boyd | CAE
Making up "take home kits" for students. Each student got a kit to assemble and then program a PLC trainer.
Jessie Carduner | MCLS
Logging in as Demo_Student on one computer and as instructor on my other. It allows me to see my synchronous class from the students' perspective. And do some work in the background work if I need to that is seamless to students. Having had my full course calendar and all assignments already on Blackboard helped. I have calendar with links to folders for each week. Students were already used to navigating my course, so trying to stick as closely to the routines has helped them. Using Announcements tool instead of flooding students with emails helps because students can find them easily. At the same time I have used email selectively to call attention to important deadlines or changes. I ask all students to type in answers and to tell me when they are "ready" if we break for a few minutes for reflection or individual work. I can monitor students' comprehension that way and give immediate feedback. Slowing down my lecture pace and reinforcing what I say with voice with a few selective "chat" messages reemphasizing important points. Sending out encouraging messages to the class as a whole and to individual students has helped some of them. Making sure there are "practice" runs when I adopt a new tool. For instance, I had students explore come in for a practice run with Ultra to test their equipment before I started requiring attendance. I also leave up an unlimited-attempts practice test so that students can check their settings before taking "the real test". Finally, offering to call students when they needed help with the technology and if they were feeling overwhelmed or lacking in confidence. Small personal touches like a phone call or an encouraging email to a few of my students seems to have increase their participation. Finally, responding quickly to distressed students has been key and reassuring them that deadlines are not firm and that if there is a technological issue that we will find a workaround. Oh yeah, one more thing that has been great is giving students a bit of space to talk about their online experiences. They have come up with great tips for each other. For instance, I don't know anything about MAC/Apple products. Students were able to tell each other how to put accent marks on letter when taking their tests and students had tips for each other about what browsers worked best with which applications.
Breidenbaugh | Biological Sciences
Because I teach lab, I had to come up with several different activities quickly. 1. I show students actual models via collaborate. I use a metal chopstick as my pointer! We can look at these models together and I can quiz them much like we did the first week of class. 2. I use my personal touch screen computer to conduct live drawing activities with the class. While I draw for the class they also draw at home and can ask questions. Then, they are required to post a picture of their drawing in discussion board. 3. I created sets of activities with arrows and questions followed by the answers. I set this up in PowerPoint (using animation) so that the questions come up one at a time. I have small groups of students turn on their microphone to take turns answering the questions. 4. I make PowerPoints of unlabeled images that I upload into collaborate and share the files. The whole class together, is able to write on the screen to label everything. 5. Since we normally work in the cadaver lab, I use a cadaver dissection DVD collection in class as well. I also utilize Blackboard and Kultura for recorded lecture, study guides, practice quizzes, lecture quizzes, lab quizzes and YouTube videos. But it is the drawing, labeling, and quizzing activities that make us feel like we are the same class that we started as in January 2020.
Danielle Gruhler | EHHS
I have poured heart, mind, and soul into designing synchronous class meetings, using BB Collaborate Ultra. These real-time classes include: PowerPoints just as they would see in class; opportunities for students to meet in small breakout groups with the classmates they sat with in our classroom in White Hall; opportunities to view/interact with videos and other resources in "real-time" with the chance to discuss "face-to-face" as a class right then and there. My students have genuinely appreciated that we have stayed connected--both as people and as professionals during this unpredictable time. To quote student feedback from just this week: "I really love breaking out into small groups. We definitely talk about the assignment/activity, but it's nice to see some familiar faces and truly appreciate that you give so much effort to keep our classroom community live." "I love the routine we're keeping with class at 11:00 each week and keeping our class starting off the same way it does just how it did in person really does help it feel normal. Helps me feel less stressed during this time." "This class works really well because there is a good balance of lecture and then break-out for group discussion. I like how we focus on class and learning because it helps me feel like things are more normal!"
Jacqueline Marino | CCI
When the social-distancing mandate was issued, my co-instructor and I developed a new assignment in our Journalism and Documentary class: We asked the students to create social media videos about themselves or others with whom they have been quarantined using #CollegeDuringCorona. Our students seem excited about the creative challenge. We also are collaborating on the assignment #CollegeDuring Lisa Waite, CCI in addition to blackboard collaborate, I send out a biweekly video message just to let students know that I am still here for them and thinking of them. I don't know that this is "enormously resourceful or creative" but students' response of appreciation was significant. As well, I wrote a personal 'congratulations' letter to our forthcoming Communication graduates. I initially planned to send it to them on the day of their graduation, but one graduate suggested he "might just quit" and it was the only thing I had in my back pocket to offer hope. So, I sent the letter. Letter is attached if you are interested.
Mark Whitmore | Management and Information Systems
I think my discussion boards have gone very well. We have a lot of lively debate which the students facilitate online. Just to help relieve some of the stress and boredom we started asking fun questions each week along with the discussion about the course work. Questions like what is your dream car (we were talking about the automobile industry that week) or what destination do you want to go to once the pandemic is over (that week the topic was a global industry). I prepare a colorful slide with the students answers and share it with all of three sections of my class. Paula Dancie, Fashion art of the journey for me began with "remodeling" my sewing studio at home: laying a new floor, putting in new storage shelves and re-organizing my materials, equipment and supplies. I needed a place or backdrop to regularly meet students during remote class. I have had to be resourceful beyond what I had already planned in my original syllabus and course outline since we were suddenly forced to continue instruction without the use of dress forms and sewing machines. How do you teach draping when you have no form or fabric? Use garments from your closet and your actual body or some one else's body. I was terrified of making videos to do demonstrations but did it.
Tammy Honesty | Theatre
Communication with the students via email, text, and weekly videos for inspiration and information (not educational contact). Opening up the virtual classroom early because the students often want to talk with people they aren't living. I record every session and post on Blackboard. For each class, I create an agenda and post in case student gets bumped off the internet. I also create time periodically during class when I would ask the students to turn on their cameras and mics so we can check in and make sure they are following the information. Ultimately, walking the walk of putting students first--before moving to remote learning, I sent a survey about what they barriers they have. Listening harder to what the students are truly saying if they are having a problem. It became incredibly apparent to me that the classroom/studio space is quite the sacred space and creates a level playing ground for all students. It should not be taken for granted. Having this window into their personal lives is incredibly enlightening and shines a light on the numerous barriers they have. Creating a sense of normalcy for the students seemed to work well. The virtual backgrounds have been a huge success. Students past and present as well as colleagues are sending me suggestions on a daily basis! I even had two students (who had already had the class) ask to join class AND they joined class, were engaged, and participated for the entire class.
Kimberly Karpanty | Theatre and Dance
In my desire to be a lifelong learner my philosophy of undergraduate education evolves to engage the changing cohorts of students and to maintain relevancy in our art form. It is the few core tenets of my teaching approach that I pledge to maintain under all circumstances that have been most challenged during this time of remote learning in COVID-19 quarantine. Dance is an ephemeral art form that requires live presence. We often say that 75% of success is “showing up.” I am also committed to showing up, to being there in the studio and classroom to demonstrate, clarify, challenge, mentor and communicate with each student in his/her/their learning style. I choose to focus on the unique potential of each student rather than limitations. Maintaining this practice digitally has required innumerable hours on Zoom, Skype, phone and email to ensure students have the resources and support to succeed in their individual circumstances. Some are thriving, and others who had excellent performance during the first eight weeks of the term are struggling academically, artistically and emotionally. With many of my colleagues at Kent State and around the nation, continuing to engage young performing artists in an online format has been a test. I am struggling most with finding a balance between my expectations that students maintain a spirited presence and accountability for their learning, and the desire to be flexible and mindful of the effects the abrupt changes in place, space, resources and community had on them. If I give multiple extensions on assignments, or more time to complete an online exam, am I sacrificing rigor or am I kindhearted? If I hold on to “continuity of learning” am I being proficient or intolerant? As an educator I believe that it is not only important to build a powerful instrument (the body in dance) but also a strong mind, spirit, imagination and sense of community in my students; one blessing of these times is that I can focus on these intelligences as well. In Spring 2020 I chose to teach my two assigned theory courses with a mix of live Zoom lectures, narrated power points and individual Skype/ Zoom mentoring to retain “face to face” teaching. I had safety concerns about moving in small spaces, so for my modern dance studio class I chose to offer the students the chance to view dances from contemporary dance companies in the US and abroad. I assigned questions with the goal of cultivating skills in observing, writing and thinking critically about dance. For Improvisation class we joined an international participatory project with Akram Khan (UK) and Numeridanse called Animal Kingdom. For five weeks the students experimented with their existing improvisational skills and a movement score provided by the project to create original, imaginative short videos. Fifteen students will be connected to the global dance community when the final film, created from submissions worldwide, that will be produced in September 2020.
Wendy Bedrosian | Early Childhood Development
Greetings! My Internet connection is not up to the task of supporting Randy video conferencing for the bank everyday and my hosting synchronous class meetings (we've booted the kids off until after 5PM - so that's when they do their school work). So, I've tried to maintain the strong community of learners that had been built before we were sent home by adding little surprises into my Weekly Folders, slide presentations, etc. For example, in the weekly agenda I send out for each class, I start it off with an inspiration quote about teaching or education. Something drawn from one of our readings or from The Quotable Teacher (edited by Randy Howe, 2003) or Where the Sidewalk Ends (Shel Silverstein, 1974). In the email sent out to one class, I shared this with them: "It has always seemed strange to me that in our endless discussions about education so little stress is laid on the pleasure of becoming an educated person, the enormous interest it adds to life. To be able to be caught up into the world of thought - that is to be educated" (Edith Hamilton, 1867-1963). I've strategically placed short video clips of read alouds of children's story books such as Eric Carle reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar and music video Happy by Pharrell Williams