Contributed by Humanities and English Faculty, Amy Young
First of all, I am so very grateful for my fantastic colleagues and the college system. It is truly impressive how everyone has come together to make things work in these surreal circumstances, and I am likewise grateful for the unprecedented outpouring of reassurance, collaboration, and support I’ve seen and received over the past few weeks. Still, while I was finding comfort in the warm, fuzzy security of capability there, I started to wonder what, in addition to their concerns and questions, the students in my classes might want to share. Might they want an opportunity to be problem solvers too?
I had this in mind when I attended a webinar wherein faculty shared resources and ideas for assisting students and each other with the transition to online learning. I was curious how faculty had been communicating with their students and what they had been hearing from them, and what was interesting was that students were not only sharing their hardships and fears, but they were also sharing their ideas.
Yes, now is the time to be compassionate and flexible, and we should absolutely check-in to assuage student doubts, but there are also a good number of students who are ready to get to work, who want to problem solve, and who (like us) have an urge to help and who are ready to engage. For instance, after receiving suggestions from a number of students via email, I sent a Doodle poll to all of the students in my classes surveying them about their engagement preferences as we transition to online. Within two days, I had over 50 responses, all of them either eager to have virtual meetings or willing to attend when their schedules permitted (now, three days later, I have still only had one student decline to meet online).
Of course, we will continue to look out for those students (and colleagues) who are struggling with the stress and uncertainty of these times; this situation is not ideal for any of us, and we are incredibly fortunate to have so many people around us ready to help. But perhaps it’s just as important to give students an opportunity to problem solve, to get creative, to feel like they’re contributing, and to have a positive voice, too.
A Note from Professional Development:
Want to make your own Doodle poll? Here is the Doodle website.
The volume of information that is being sent and received can be overwhelming. Please refer to the Resources Page for more information. While your transitioned course may not be perfect, your students need a quality, flexible course. The greater message from LSC to all students is: “As we move closer to opening campus and resuming all classes April 13, we are going to be supportive and understanding in all that you’re dealing with. We’re here for you.”