During the time of remote classes, Meredith faculty learned and utilized technology to teach and connect with students in new and creative ways. Working with Meredith’s Technology Services staff, faculty members were able to add a new dimension to their traditional teaching tools. Many of these new skills will convey to their ongoing in-person curricula.
Professor of Spanish Jonathan Wade, chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures, used multiple online feedback tools to check in with his students to find out how they were doing in his courses, and to see if his strategies and efforts were working as he intended.
“I would do something in class and think it was working a certain way, but I wouldn’t know for sure until I checked with my students. I opened up the lines of communication in every way I could, including informal conversations in class, a widget in Brightspace that allowed students to give anonymous feedback throughout the semester, and an anonymous course evaluation using Google Forms at the six week mark. These feedback loops promote continuous improvement in my courses and invite students to take an active part in the learning process.”
Receiving feedback from students helped Wade to adjust his teaching.
“Seeking honest feedback, sharing what you learn, and then putting that learning into action signals to your students that you care. I think it’s important to be transparent about the work and effort that we put in as professors and to acknowledge when we fall short,” Wade said. “By owning our mistakes and embracing opportunities for improvement, we model the same learning and growth that we expect of our students. Everyone wins.”
Professor of Dance Alyson Colwell-Waber jumped in and learned new skills to create online video versions of her yoga classes and mechanisms by which students submitted their own video demonstrations and reflections on what they learned.
“When the pandemic started, I moved my yoga class fully online, as we all did with our classes. My aim was to recreate my in-person classes for the virtual learning environment as best I could, so I filmed and edited 15 class videos, each over one hour in length. With the help of our Instructional Design and Academic Technology team, I learned how to edit my videos, adding music, text and slides,” said Colwell-Waber. “Later, as I kept learning more about using video, I had my students make short videos of themselves demonstrating some of the poses that we had learned in that class, as well as reflecting on their learning and asking questions. This created a personal connection that was invaluable and helped all of us feel a little less isolated.”
Meredith is grateful to have faculty members who truly care about their students and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that they are thriving and becoming strong women!