EDvice Exchange

EDvice Exchange is the Center for the Advancement of Teaching‘s blog. It serves instructors in the Temple community and other institutions of higher education. This resource provides effective, research-based teaching practices for your consideration.

It has been a difficult challenge for faculty to convert their face-to-face courses to online instruction and begin preparing for a reality unlike any that have faced. An added burden is that faculty are doing so at a time of such strife, with a pandemic prompting an unprecedented global lockdown, and heightened frustration over injustice. The past few months have left many feeling anxious, stressed, and exhausted. As we look forward to the fall, here are four ways to cope:

I have spoken with a number of students over the past several days to see how they are doing. All of the students – from highly motivated to average – talked about being overwhelmed with the transition to online learning, to living with family members (who also need to use the computer and internet). Several students have had family members or friends either hospitalized or die from the virus. One student is home with her family of four; she is the only one who still has a job. Another just made it back to his home in another state from Philly just a few days ago—his parents had been traveling and he didn’t really have anywhere to go or a way to get there. Another said she can only get internet in a park down the street from her house (I sent her the link about Comcast offering free internet to low income students). And most of the students have five classes to manage—not just one or two. I’m sure you are hearing similar stories from your own students.

 

When I looked at my gradebook over the weekend, it seemed 13 students (out of 60) had not been turning in assignments. I wrote to those students. Over the next three days I heard from (or met with during virtual office hours) all of those students, every one of them grateful for someone checking on their welfare and every one of them talking about how difficult the transition has been. Some are getting back on their feet, others are figuring out which courses they should drop because they can’t keep up. But every one of the students talked about their struggle of having fallen way behind across their courses.

Stephanie Fiore

What a wild ride the past weeks have been! The Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) was in the middle of providing support to Temple Japan and Temple Rome to move their instruction online when the call came from the Provost’s office with a simple message: “Get ready for main campus!” I’ll admit I didn’t sleep well that night, anticipating already the enormity of the task ahead, the challenges that our faculty and our team would face, and the very real responsibility to make sure we could provide an education for our students. Subsequent participation in university-wide committees tasked with making what seemed almost impossible actually happen introduced me to all of those people on the front lines responsible for health, student services, information technology, emergency management, human resources, communications, and so much more. Our university is a complex ecosystem and the number of decisions to be made on a daily basis were (and are) staggering.

open books

How many of us have thought about giving useful feedback to our students and fallen short? Moreover, how many times have we given what we thought was extensive feedback, and seen no improvements in student performance? Or that some students were utilizing our feedback while others did not? How can we provide constructive feedback which will be useful to all learners in that it serves to both instruct as well as motivate students? One way might be to provide “wise feedback.”

Diamond Classrooms Week sticky notes

Earlier this month Temple’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching inaugurated Diamond Classrooms Week, in which our best instructors opened up their classrooms to colleagues for peer observation. With over a hundred visits to over eighty classrooms, the Diamond Classrooms Week project is off to a great start. Watch for our announcement about the next Diamond Classrooms Week in the fall!

 

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