Reflection on locking down and going on line.
“It’s been a challenge trying to continue quality instruction from a distance. I am not a techie nor even an early adopter of technology, so learning to the mechanics of different technologies has not been easy. This is, for instance, the first time I have ever had to confront the image of my own face while teaching. I am leading two classes, a research methods class that meets every other week during the semester, and a twenty-five-student elective called Public and Community Health.
The research class, which is also the senior seminar/capstone class, requires group of four students to plan and execute a research project under the mentorship of a faculty member. We recently held a virtual poster session to so that students could exhibit their posters with project results. Each group had fifteen minutes to present their poster and answer questions. It was amazing well ‘attended,’ with many students participating well beyond their own presentation times.
I had planned the elective while instruction was still campus-based. Once we went virtual it became necessary to scrap those plans entirely and re-design the course entirely. Serendipitously, being on-line allowed me to invite participation of colleagues from all over the country. We have a lineup featuring guest faculty from the CDC, the FDA, community-based organizations, a veteran from the early days of the AIDS epidemic, a returned Peace Corps volunteer, etc. Students balance diverse readings, films with public health themes, discussions in real time and on Canvas, our learning platform. I have seen more student involvement in this class than most others I have taught. The class has been a satisfying experience for me as an instructor.
The opportunities of teaching online (while flying pretty much by the seat of my pants) do not exactly outweigh the challenges, but the entire campus community has exhibited extraordinary amounts of compassion and empathy with a well-develooped ability to roll with the punches.” – Priscilla Ryder, MPH, PhD, CPH, Associate Professor. Department of Clinical and Administrative Sciences, LU College of Pharmacy
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